A Tale of Two Envelopes

Mind 116 (464):903-926 (2007)
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Abstract

This paper deals with the two-envelope paradox. Two main formulations of the paradoxical reasoning are distinguished, which differ according to the partition of possibilities employed. We argue that in the first formulation the conditionals required for the utility assignment are problematic; the error is identified as a fallacy of conditional reasoning. We go on to consider the second formulation, where the epistemic status of certain singular propositions becomes relevant; our diagnosis is that the states considered do not exhaust the possibilities. Thus, on our approach to the paradox, the fallacy, in each formulation, is found in the reasoning underlying the relevant utility matrix; in both cases, the paradoxical argument goes astray before one gets to questions of probability or calculations of expected utility

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2009-01-28

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Author's Profile

Bernard Katz
University of Toronto, Mississauga

References found in this work

Naming and Necessity: Lectures Given to the Princeton University Philosophy Colloquium.Saul A. Kripke - 1980 - Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Edited by Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel.
Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Malden, Mass.: Blackwell.
The Nature of Necessity.Alvin Plantinga - 1974 - Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
Naming and Necessity.S. Kripke - 1972 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 45 (4):665-666.

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