Counterfactuals and newcomb's paradox

Synthese 39 (2):249 - 261 (1978)
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Abstract

In their development of causal decision theory, Allan Gibbard and William Harper advocate a particular method for calculating the expected utility of an action, a method based upon the probabilities of certain counterfactuals. Gibbard and Harper then employ their method to support a two-box solution to Newcomb’s paradox. This paper argues against some of Gibbard and Harper’s key claims concerning the truth-values and probabilities of counterfactuals involved in expected utility calculations, thereby disputing their analysis of Newcomb’s Paradox. If we are right, then Gibbard and Harper’s method of calculating expected utility does not adequately represent rational choice.

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Reed Richter
University of California, Irvine (PhD)

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References found in this work

Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Malden, Mass.: Blackwell.
Counterfactuals and Two Kinds of Expected Utility.Allan Gibbard & William L. Harper - 1978 - In A. Hooker, J. J. Leach & E. F. McClennen (eds.), Foundations and Applications of Decision Theory. D. Reidel. pp. 125-162.

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