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  1. 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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  • Is Normative Uncertainty Irrelevant If Your Descriptive Uncertainty Depends on It?Pamela Robinson - forthcoming - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
    According to ‘Excluders’, descriptive uncertainty—but not normative uncertainty—matters to what we ought to do. Recently, several authors have argued that those wishing to treat normative uncertainty differently from descriptive uncertainty face a dependence problem because one’s descriptive uncertainty can depend on one’s normative uncertainty. The aim of this paper is to determine whether the phenomenon of dependence poses a decisive problem for Excluders. I argue that existing arguments fail to show this, and that, while stronger ones can be found, Excluders (...)
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  • Causal Decision Theory.Paul Weirich - 2009 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • On a Causal Principle in an Argument for a Necessary Being.Noël Blas Saenz - 2022 - Analysis 82 (2):272-277.
    In Necessary Existence, Pruss and Rasmussen give an argument for a necessary being employing a modest causal principle. Here I note that, when applied to highly general and fundamental matters, the principle may well be false (or at least not so obvious).
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  • A Plan-Based Causal Decision Theory.Gerard J. Rothfus - 2022 - Analysis 82 (2):264-272.
    In ‘An argument against causal decision theory’, Jack Spencer shows that standard formulations of causal decision theory run afoul of his Guaranteed Principle. In the sequential choice problem he employs to make this case, the transgression stems from an awkward discrepancy between how causalists typically value present vs future acts. This note suggests a version of causal decision theory that avoids this incongruity and so respects the Guaranteed Principle in Spencer’s problem. However, this formulation, and hence symmetric appraisal of present (...)
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  • Can It Be Irrational to Knowingly Choose the Best?Jack Spencer - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    Seeking a decision theory that can handle both the Newcomb problems that challenge evidential decision theory and the unstable problems that challenge causal decision theory, some philosophers recently have turned to ‘graded ratifiability’. The graded ratifiability approach to decision theory is, however, despite its virtues, unsatisfactory; for it conflicts with the platitude that it is always rationally permissible for an agent to knowingly choose their best option.
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  • Escaping the Cycle.J. Dmitri Gallow - 2022 - Mind 131 (521):99-127.
    I present a decision problem in which causal decision theory appears to violate 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. This decision should lead causalists to a better understanding of what it takes for a decision between some collection of options to count as a subdecision of a decision between a larger collection of options. And with (...)
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  • Knowledge of Objective 'Oughts': Monotonicity and the New Miners Puzzle.Daniel Muñoz & Jack Spencer - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (1):77-91.
    In the classic Miners case, an agent subjectively ought to do what they know is objectively wrong. This case shows that the subjective and objective ‘oughts’ are somewhat independent. But there remains a powerful intuition that the guidance of objective ‘oughts’ is more authoritative—so long as we know what they tell us. We argue that this intuition must be given up in light of a monotonicity principle, which undercuts the rationale for saying that objective ‘oughts’ are an authoritative guide for (...)
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  • The procreative asymmetry and the impossibility of elusive permission.Jack Spencer - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (11):3819-3842.
    This paper develops a form of moral actualism that can explain the procreative asymmetry. Along the way, it defends and explains the attractive asymmetry: the claim that although an impermissible option can be self-conditionally permissible, a permissible option cannot be self-conditionally impermissible.
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  • What Rationality Is.Arif Ahmed -
    A choice function C is rational iff: if it allows a path through a sequence of decisions with a particular outcome, then that outcome is amongst the ones that C would have chosen from amongst all the possible outcomes of the sequence. This implies, and it is the strongest definition that implies, that anyone who is irrational could be talked out of their own preferences. It also implies weak but non-vacuous constraints on choices over ends. These do not include alpha (...)
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  • Rational monism and rational pluralism.Jack Spencer - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (6):1769-1800.
    Consequentialists often assume rational monism: the thesis that options are always made rationally permissible by the maximization of the selfsame quantity. This essay argues that consequentialists should reject rational monism and instead accept rational pluralism: the thesis that, on different occasions, options are made rationally permissible by the maximization of different quantities. The essay then develops a systematic form of rational pluralism which, unlike its rivals, is capable of handling both the Newcomb problems that challenge evidential decision theory and the (...)
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  • Objective Value Is Always Newcombizable.Arif Ahmed & Jack Spencer - 2020 - Mind 129 (516):1157-1192.
    This paper argues that evidential decision theory is incompatible with options having objective values. If options have objective values, then it should always be rationally permissible for an agent to choose an option if they are certain that the option uniquely maximizes objective value. But, as we show, if options have objective values and evidential decision theory is true, then it is not always rationally permissible for an agent to choose an option if they are certain that the option uniquely (...)
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  • Extracting Money From Causal Decision Theorists.Caspar Oesterheld & Vincent Conitzer - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 71 (4):pqaa086.
    Newcomb’s problem has spawned a debate about which variant of expected utility maximisation should guide rational choice. In this paper, we provide a new argument against what is probably the most popular variant: causal decision theory. In particular, we provide two scenarios in which CDT voluntarily loses money. In the first, an agent faces a single choice and following CDT’s recommendation yields a loss of money in expectation. The second scenario extends the first to a diachronic Dutch book against CDT.
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  • 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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  • An Argument Against Causal Decision Theory.Jack Spencer - 2021 - Analysis 81 (1):52-61.
    This paper develops an argument against causal decision theory. I formulate a principle of preference, which I call the Guaranteed Principle. I argue that the preferences of rational agents satisfy the Guaranteed Principle, that the preferences of agents who embody causal decision theory do not, and hence that causal decision theory is false.
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  • Normative Decision Theory.Edward Elliott - 2019 - Analysis 79 (4):755-772.
    A review of some major topics of debate in normative decision theory from circa 2007 to 2019. Topics discussed include the ongoing debate between causal and evidential decision theory, decision instability, risk-weighted expected utility theory, decision-making with incomplete preferences, and decision-making with imprecise credences.
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  • 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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  • Equal Opportunities in Newcomb’s Problem and Elsewhere.Arif Ahmed - 2020 - Mind 129 (515):867-886.
    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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  • Defusing the Miners Paradox.Michael J. Shaffer - 2018 - Filosofiska Notiser 5:57-67.
    This paper presents a case for the claim that the infamous miners paradox is not a paradox. This contention is based on some important observations about the nature of ignorance with respect to both disjunctions and conditional obligations and their modal features. The gist of the argument is that given the uncertainty about the location of the miners in the story and the nature of obligations, the apparent obligation to block either mine shaft is cancelled.
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  • Review of Arif Ahmed (Ed.), Newcomb's Problem. [REVIEW]Jack Spencer - 2019 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2019.