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  1. added 2020-04-23
    Rational Choice and Expected Utility.Reed Brannon Richter - 1985 - Dissertation, University of California, Irvine
    This dissertation primarily consists of three related, published articles on decision theory. All three articles are at least in part a response to various problems and issues raised by an approach known as "causal decision theory". But "Rationality, Group Choice and Expected Utility" goes beyond the issue of causal versus non-causal decision theory, and deals in general with the subject of analysing rational choice in terms of expected utility. I develop a new way of handling cases of rational cooperation within (...)
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  2. added 2020-03-03
    Frankfurt Cases and the Newcomb Problem.Arif Ahmed - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-18.
    A standard argument for one-boxing in Newcomb’s Problem is ‘Why Ain’cha Rich?’, which emphasizes that one-boxers typically make a million dollars compared to the thousand dollars that two-boxers can expect. A standard reply is the ‘opportunity defence’: the two-boxers who made a thousand never had an opportunity to make more. The paper argues that the opportunity defence is unavailable to anyone who grants that in another case—a Frankfurt case—the agent is deprived of opportunities in the way that advocates of Frankfurt (...)
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  3. added 2020-02-01
    Equal Opportunities in Newcomb’s Problem and Elsewhere.Arif Ahmed - forthcoming - Mind:fzz073.
    The paper discusses Ian Wells’s recent argument that there is a decision problem in which followers of Evidential Decision Theory end up poorer than followers of Causal Decision Theory despite having the same opportunities for money. It defends Evidential Decision Theory against Wells’s argument, on the following grounds. Wells's has not presented a decision problem in which his main claim is true. Four possible decision problems can be generated from his central example, in each of which followers of Evidential Decision (...)
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  4. added 2020-02-01
    Objective Value Is Always Newcombizable.Arif Ahmed & Jack Spencer - forthcoming - Mind:fzz070.
    This paper argues that evidential decision theory is incompatible with options having objective values.
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  5. added 2020-01-23
    The Causal Decision Theorist's Guide to Managing the News.J. Dmitri Gallow - 2020 - Journal of Philosophy 117 (3):117-149.
    According to orthodox causal decision theory, performing an action can give you information about factors outside of your control, but you should not take this information into account when deciding what to do. Causal decision theorists caution against an irrational policy of 'managing the news'. But, by providing information about factors outside of your control, performing an act can give you two, importantly different, kinds of good news. It can tell you that the world in which you find yourself is (...)
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  6. added 2019-11-18
    Do the EPR Correlations Pose a Problem for Causal Decision Theory?Adam Koberinski, Lucas Dunlap & William L. Harper - 2019 - Synthese 196 (9):3711-3722.
    We argue that causal decision theory is no worse off than evidential decision theory in handling entanglement, regardless of one’s preferred interpretation of quantum mechanics. In recent works, Ahmed and Ahmed and Caulton : 4315–4352, 2014) have claimed the opposite; we argue that they are mistaken. Bell-type experiments are not instances of Newcomb problems, so CDT and EDT do not diverge in their recommendations. We highlight the fact that a Causal Decision Theorist should take all lawlike correlations into account, including (...)
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  7. added 2019-11-05
    Review of Arif Ahmed (Ed.), Newcomb's Problem. [REVIEW]Jack Spencer - 2019 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2019.
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  8. added 2019-10-03
    Newcomb’s Problem, Arif Ahmed (Editor). Cambridge University Press, 2018, 233 Pages. [REVIEW]J. Dmitri Gallow - forthcoming - Economics and Philosophy.
    Newcomb’s Problem, Arif Ahmed (editor). Cambridge University Press, 2018, 233 pages.
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  9. added 2019-09-19
    The Dr. Psycho Paradox and Newcomb’s Problem.Michael Clark & Nicholas Shackel - 2006 - Erkenntnis 64 (1):85 - 100.
    Nicholas Rescher claims that rational decision theory “may leave us in the lurch”, because there are two apparently acceptable ways of applying “the standard machinery of expected-value analysis” to his Dr. Psycho paradox which recommend contradictory actions. He detects a similar contradiction in Newcomb’s problem. We consider his claims from the point of view of both Bayesian decision theory and causal decision theory. In Dr. Psycho and in Newcomb’s Problem, Rescher has used premisses about probabilities which he assumes to be (...)
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  10. added 2019-08-17
    Escaping the Cycle.J. Dmitri Gallow - manuscript
    I present a decision problem in which orthodox causal decision theory appears to violate weak versions of the independence of irrelevant alternatives (IIA) and normal-form extensive-form equivalence (NEE). I show that these violations lead to exploitable behavior and long-run poverty. These consequences appear damning, but I urge caution. Causalists can dispute the charge that they violate IIA and NEE in this case by carefully specifying when two options in different decision problems are similar enough to be counted as the same.
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  11. added 2019-06-06
    XII—In the Neighbourhood of the Newcomb-Predictor.David Gauthier - 1988 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 89 (1):179-194.
  12. added 2019-06-06
    Newcomb’s Problem: The $1,000,000 Solution.Kent Bach - 1987 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 17 (2):409-425.
    The more you think about it, the more baffling Newcomb's Problem becomes. To most people, at first it is obvious which solution is correct, but their confidence can be eroded easily. Only a puzzled few are torn between the two right from the start, and for years so was I. But at last, thanks to a certain metaargument, one solution came to seem obvious to me. And yet, imagining myself actually faced with Newcomb's choice, I started to worry that I (...)
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  13. added 2019-05-01
    Causal Decision Theory is Safe From Psychopaths.Timothy Luke Williamson - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-21.
    Until recently, many philosophers took Causal Decision Theory to be more successful than its rival, Evidential Decision Theory. Things have changed, however, with a renewed concern that cases involving an extreme form of decision instability are counterexamples to CDT :392–403, 1984; Egan in Philos Rev 116:93–114, 2007). Most prominent among those cases of extreme decision instability is the Psychopath Button, due to Andy Egan; in that case, CDT recommends a seemingly absurd act that almost certainly results in your death. This (...)
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  14. added 2019-04-01
    Riches and Rationality.J. Dmitri Gallow - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-16.
    A one-boxer, Erica, and a two-boxer, Chloe, engage in a familiar debate. The debate begins with Erica asking Chloe: ‘If you’re so smart, then why ain’cha rich?’. As the debate progresses, Chloe is led to endorse a novel causalist theory of rational choice. This new theory allows Chloe to forge a connection between rational choice and long-run riches. In brief: Chloe concludes that it is not long-run wealth but rather long-run wealth creation which is symptomatic of rationality.
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  15. added 2019-03-08
    The Termination Risks of Simulation Science.Preston Greene - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (2):489-509.
    Historically, the hypothesis that our world is a computer simulation has struck many as just another improbable-but-possible “skeptical hypothesis” about the nature of reality. Recently, however, the simulation hypothesis has received significant attention from philosophers, physicists, and the popular press. This is due to the discovery of an epistemic dependency: If we believe that our civilization will one day run many simulations concerning its ancestry, then we should believe that we are probably in an ancestor simulation right now. This essay (...)
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  16. added 2019-03-08
    Success-First Decision Theories.Preston Greene - 2018 - In Arif Ahmed (ed.), Newcomb's Problem. Cambridge University Press. pp. 115–137.
    The standard formulation of Newcomb's problem compares evidential and causal conceptions of expected utility, with those maximizing evidential expected utility tending to end up far richer. Thus, in a world in which agents face Newcomb problems, the evidential decision theorist might ask the causal decision theorist: "if you're so smart, why ain’cha rich?” Ultimately, however, the expected riches of evidential decision theorists in Newcomb problems do not vindicate their theory, because their success does not generalize. Consider a theory that allows (...)
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  17. added 2019-02-26
    Newcomb University: A Play in One Act.Adam Elga - 2020 - Analysis 80 (2):212-221.
    Counter-intuitive consequences of both causal decision theory and evidential decision theory are dramatized. Each of those theories is thereby put under some pressure to supply an error theory to explain away intuitions that seem to favour the other. Because trouble is stirred up for both sides, complacency about Newcomb’s problem is discouraged.
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  18. added 2018-11-14
    Evidence and Rationalization.Ian Wells - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (3):845-864.
    Suppose that you have to take a test tomorrow but you do not want to study. Unfortunately you should study, since you care about passing and you expect to pass only if you study. Is there anything you can do to make it the case that you should not study? Is there any way for you to ‘rationalize’ slacking off? I suggest that such rationalization is impossible. Then I show that if evidential decision theory is true, rationalization is not only (...)
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  19. added 2018-11-14
    Equal Opportunity and Newcomb’s Problem.Ian Wells - 2019 - Mind 128 (510):429-457.
    The 'Why ain'cha rich?' argument for one-boxing in Newcomb's problem allegedly vindicates evidential decision theory and undermines causal decision theory. But there is a good response to the argument on behalf of causal decision theory. I develop this response. Then I pose a new problem and use it to give a new 'Why ain'cha rich?' argument. Unlike the old argument, the new argument targets evidential decision theory. And unlike the old argument, the new argument is sound.
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  20. added 2018-09-24
    Why Take Both Boxes?Jack Spencer & Ian Wells - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (1):27-48.
    The crucial premise of the standard argument for two-boxing in Newcomb's problem, a causal dominance principle, is false. We present some counterexamples. We then offer a metaethical explanation for why the counterexamples arise. Our explanation reveals a new and superior argument for two-boxing, one that eschews the causal dominance principle in favor of a principle linking rational choice to guidance and actual value maximization.
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  21. added 2018-03-29
    Uncertainty and Control.Sven Ove Hansson - 2017 - Diametros 53:50-59.
    In a decision making context, an agent’s uncertainty can be either epistemic, i.e. due to her lack of knowledge, or agentive, i.e. due to her not having made use of her decision-making power. In cases when it is unclear whether or not a decision maker presently has control over her own future actions, it is difficult to determine whether her uncertainty is epistemic or agentive. Such situations are often difficult for the agent to deal with, but from an outsider’s perspective, (...)
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  22. added 2018-03-27
    Sequential Choice and the Agent's Perspective.Arif Ahmed - manuscript
    Causal Decision Theory reckons the choice-worthiness of an option to be completely independent of its evidential bearing on its non-effects. But after one has made a choice this bearing is relevant to future decisions. Therefore it is possible to construct problems of sequential choice in which Causal Decision Theory makes a guaranteed loss. So Causal Decision Theory is wrong. The source of the problem is the idea that agents have a special perspective on their own contemplated actions, from which evidential (...)
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  23. added 2018-03-06
    Newcomb's Problem.Arif Ahmed (ed.) - 2018 - Cambridge University Press.
    Newcomb's Problem is a controversial paradox of decision theory. It is easily explained and easily understood, and there is a strong chance that most of us have actually faced it in some form or other. And yet it has proven as thorny and intractable a puzzle as much older and better-known philosophical problems of consciousness, scepticism and fatalism. It brings into very sharp and focused disagreement several long-standing philosophical theories on practical rationality, on the nature of free will, and on (...)
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  24. added 2018-02-25
    "Click!" Bait for Causalists.Huw Price & Yang Liu - 2018 - In Arif Ahmed (ed.), Newcomb's Problem. Cambridge ; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. pp. 160-179.
    Causalists and Evidentialists can agree about the right course of action in an (apparent) Newcomb problem, if the causal facts are not as initially they seem. If declining $1,000 causes the Predictor to have placed $1m in the opaque box, CDT agrees with EDT that one-boxing is rational. This creates a difficulty for Causalists. We explain the problem with reference to Dummett's work on backward causation and Lewis's on chance and crystal balls. We show that the possibility that the causal (...)
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  25. added 2017-09-14
    Dominance Conditionals and the Newcomb Problem.Theodore Korzukhin - 2014 - Philosophers' Imprint 14.
    The dominance conditional 'If I drink the contents of cup A, I will drink more than if drink the contents of cup B' is true if we know that the first cup contains more than the second. In the first part of the paper, I show that only one kind of theory of indicative conditionals can explain this fact — a Stalnaker-type semantics. In the second part of the paper, I show that dominance conditionals can help explain a long-standing mystery: (...)
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  26. added 2017-03-14
    A New Problem with Mixed Decisions, Or: You’Ll Regret Reading This Article, But You Still Should.Benjamin Plommer - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (2):349-373.
    Andy Egan recently drew attention to a class of decision situations that provide a certain kind of informational feedback, which he claims constitute a counterexample to causal decision theory. Arntzenius and Wallace have sought to vindicate a form of CDT by describing a dynamic process of deliberation that culminates in a “mixed” decision. I show that, for many of the cases in question, this proposal depends on an incorrect way of calculating expected utilities, and argue that it is therefore unsuccessful. (...)
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  27. added 2017-01-27
    " If Cows Had Wings, We'd Carry Big Umbrellas." An Almost Number-Free Note on Newcomb's Problem.Alain Voizard - 1995 - Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 178:193-214.
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  28. added 2017-01-14
    Strategic Vs. Parametric Choice in Newcomb’s Problem and the Prisoner’s Dilemma: Reply to Walker.José Bermúdez - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (3):787-794.
    In Bermúdez 2013 I argued against David Lewis’s well-known and widely accepted claim that Newcomb’s problem and the prisoner’s dilemma are really notational variants of a single problem. Mark Walker’s paper in this journal takes issue with my argument. In this note I show how Walker’s criticisms are misplaced. The problems with Walker’s argument point to more general and independently interesting conclusions about, first, the relation between deliberation and decision and, second, the differences between the prisoner’s dilemma, which is a (...)
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  29. added 2017-01-14
    Rejoinder to Bermúdez on Lewis, Newcomb’s Problem and the Prisoner’s Dilemma.Mark Walker - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (3):795-800.
    Against the contention of David Lewis Philosophy and Public Affairs 8, 235–240, that the Prisoner’s Dilemma is a Newcomb Problem, José Luis Bermúdez Analysis 73, 423–429, has urged that Lewis’s assimilation removes the very outcome scenarios that make the Dilemma so puzzling. I objected that this criticism of Lewis presupposes that the Dilemma is harder to resolve than Newcomb’s Problem, in effect challenging Bermúdez to justify this assumption. In his 2015 he takes up the challenge, arguing that while the former (...)
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  30. added 2016-12-08
    The Newxin Puzzle.Chrisoula Andreou - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 139 (3):415-422.
    A variety of thought experiments suggest that, if the standard picture of practical rationality is correct, then practical rationality is sometimes an obstacle to practical success. For some, this in turn suggests that there is something wrong with the standard picture. In particular, it has been argued that we should revise the standard picture so that practical rationality and practical success emerge as more closely connected than the current picture allows. In this paper, I construct a choice situation—which I refer (...)
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  31. added 2016-12-08
    Are Newcomb Problems Really Decisions?James M. Joyce - 2007 - Synthese 156 (3):537-562.
    Richard Jeffrey long held that decision theory should be formulated without recourse to explicitly causal notions. Newcomb problems stand out as putative counterexamples to this ‘evidential’ decision theory. Jeffrey initially sought to defuse Newcomb problems via recourse to the doctrine of ratificationism, but later came to see this as problematic. We will see that Jeffrey’s worries about ratificationism were not compelling, but that valid ratificationist arguments implicitly presuppose causal decision theory. In later work, Jeffrey argued that Newcomb problems are not (...)
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  32. added 2016-11-19
    Egan and Agents: How Evidential Decision Theory Can Deal with Egan’s Dilemma.Daniel Dohrn - 2015 - Synthese 192 (6):1883-1908.
    Andy Egan has presented a dilemma for decision theory. As is well known, Newcomb cases appear to undermine the case for evidential decision theory. However, Egan has come up with a new scenario which poses difficulties for causal decision theory. I offer a simple solution to this dilemma in terms of a modified EDT. I propose an epistemological test: take some feature which is relevant to your evaluation of the scenarios under consideration, evidentially correlated with the actions under consideration albeit, (...)
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  33. added 2016-08-27
    Essays on Paradoxes.Terry Horgan - 2017 - Oxford University Press USA.
    This volume brings together Terence Horgan's essays on paradoxes, both published and new. A common theme unifying these essays is that philosophically interesting paradoxes typically resist either easy solutions or solutions that are formally/mathematically highly technical. Another unifying theme is that such paradoxes often have deep-sometimes disturbing-philosophical morals.
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  34. added 2016-07-31
    Newcomb Meets Gettier.Ittay Nissan-Rozen - 2017 - Synthese 194 (12):4799-4814.
    I show that accepting Moss’s claim that features of a rational agent’s credence function can constitute knowledge, together with the claim that a rational agent should only act on the basis of reasons that he knows, predicts and explains evidential decision theory’s failure to recommend the right choice for the Newcomb problem. The Newcomb problem can be seen, in light of Moss’s suggestion, as a manifestation of a Gettier case in the domain of choice. This serves as strong evidence for (...)
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  35. added 2016-01-26
    Conditional Preference and Causal Expected Utility.Brad Armendt - 1988 - In William Harper & Brian Skyrms (eds.), Causation in Decision, Belief Change, and Statistics. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 3-24.
    Sequel to Armendt 1986, ‘A Foundation for Causal Decision Theory.’ The representation theorem for causal decision theory is slightly revised, with the addition of a new restriction on lotteries and a new axiom (A7). The discussion gives some emphasis to the way in which appropriate K-partitions are characterized by relations found among the agent’s conditional preferences. The intended interpretation of conditional preference is one that embodies a sensitivity to the agent’s causal beliefs.
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  36. added 2015-10-10
    The Real Reason Why the Prisoner’s Dilemma is Not a Newcomb Problem.Mark Thomas Walker - 2014 - Philosophia 42 (3):841-859.
    It is commonly thought, in line with the position defended in an influential paper by David Lewis, that the decision problems faced in the prisoner’s dilemma and the Newcomb situation are essentially the same problem. José Luis Bermúdez has recently attacked the case Lewis makes for this claim. While I think the claim is false, I contend that Bermúdez’s reason for rejecting Lewis’s argument is inadequate, and then outline what I take to be a better reason for doing so.
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  37. added 2015-09-13
    Impartiality and Causal Decision Theory.Brad Armendt - 1988 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:326 - 336.
    Defenders of sophisticated evidential decision theory (EDT) have argued (1) that its failure to provide correct recommendations in problems where the agent believes himself asymmetrically fallible in executing his choices is no flaw of the theory, and (2) that causal decision theory gives incorrect recommendations in certain examples unless it is supplemented with an additional metatickle or ratifiability deliberation mechanism. In the first part of this paper, I argue that both positions are incorrect. In the second part of the paper, (...)
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  38. added 2015-09-12
    A Foundation for Causal Decision Theory.Brad Armendt - 1986 - Topoi 5 (1):3-19.
    The primary aim of this paper is the presentation of a foundation for causal decision theory. This is worth doing because causal decision theory (CDT) is philosophically the most adequate rational decision theory now available. I will not defend that claim here by elaborate comparison of the theory with all its competitors, but by providing the foundation. This puts the theory on an equal footing with competitors for which foundations have already been given. It turns out that it will also (...)
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  39. added 2015-07-08
    Why You Should One-Box in Newcomb's Problem.Howard J. Simmons - manuscript
    I consider a familiar argument for two-boxing in Newcomb's Problem and find it defective because it involves a type of divergence from standard Baysian reasoning, which, though sometimes justified, conflicts with the stipulations of the Newcomb scenario. In an appendix, I also find fault with a different argument for two-boxing that has been presented by Graham Priest.
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  40. added 2015-04-13
    Monty Hall No Newcomb Problem.Joseph Ellin - unknown - Proceedings of the Heraclitean Society 17.
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  41. added 2015-04-08
    Causal Probability.John L. Pollock - 2002 - Synthese 132 (1-2):143 - 185.
    Examples growing out of the Newcomb problem have convinced many people that decision theory should proceed in terms of some kind of causal probability. I endorse this view and define and investigate a variety of causal probability. My definition is related to Skyrms' definition, but proceeds in terms of objective probabilities rather than subjective probabilities and avoids taking causal dependence as a primitive concept.
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  42. added 2015-04-06
    Two-Boxing is Irrational.Harold Noonan - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (2):455-462.
    Philosophers debate whether one-boxing or two-boxing is the rational act in a Newcomb situation. I shall argue that one-boxing is the only rational choice. This is so because there is no intelligible aim by reference to which you can justify the choice of two-boxing over one-boxing once you have come to think that you will two-box. The only aim by which the agent in the Newcomb situation can justify his two-boxing is the subjunctively described aim of ‘getting more than I (...)
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  43. added 2015-03-19
    Newcomb's Problem: Recalculations for the One-Boxer.Roy A. Sorensen - 1983 - Theory and Decision 15 (4):399-404.
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  44. added 2015-03-17
    The Meta-Newcomb Problem.Nick Bostrom - 2001 - Analysis 61 (4):309–310.
    There are two boxes in front of you and you are asked to choose between taking only box B or taking both box A and box B. Box A contains $ 1,000. Box B will contain either nothing or $ 1,000,000. What B will contain is (or will be) determined by Predictor, who has an excellent track record of predicting your choices. There are two possibilities. Either Predictor has already made his move by predicting your choice and putting a million (...)
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  45. added 2015-03-17
    Newcomb’s Problem: A Reply to Carlson.John Martin Fischer - 2001 - Analysis 61 (3):229–236.
  46. added 2015-03-17
    Newcomb's Paradox and Compatibilism.Yemima Ben-Menahem - 1986 - Erkenntnis 25 (2):197 - 220.
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  47. added 2014-09-18
    Infallibility in the Newcomb Problem.Arif Ahmed - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (2):261-273.
    It is intuitively attractive to think that it makes a difference in Newcomb’s problem whether or not the predictor is infallible, in the sense of being certainly actually correct. This paper argues that that view is irrational and manifests a well-documented cognitive illusion.
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  48. added 2014-04-01
    How Braess' Paradox Solves Newcomb's Problem: Not!Louis Marinoff - 1996 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 10 (3):217 – 237.
    Abstract In an engaging and ingenious paper, Irvine (1993) purports to show how the resolution of Braess? paradox can be applied to Newcomb's problem. To accomplish this end, Irvine forges three links. First, he couples Braess? paradox to the Cohen?Kelly queuing paradox. Second, he couples the Cohen?Kelly queuing paradox to the Prisoner's Dilemma (PD). Third, in accord with received literature, he couples the PD to Newcomb's problem itself. Claiming that the linked models are ?structurally identical?, he argues that Braess solves (...)
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  49. added 2014-03-31
    Agency and Probabilistic Causality.Huw Price - 1991 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 42 (2):157-176.
    Probabilistic accounts of causality have long had trouble with ‘spurious’ evidential correlations. Such correlations are also central to the case for causal decision theory—the argument that evidential decision theory is inadequate to cope with certain sorts of decision problem. However, there are now several strong defences of the evidential theory. Here I present what I regard as the best defence, and apply it to the probabilistic approach to causality. I argue that provided a probabilistic theory appeals to the notions of (...)
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  50. added 2014-03-25
    Rationality, Dispositions, and the Newcomb Paradox.R. Eric Barnes - 1997 - Philosophical Studies 88 (1):1-28.
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