Newcomb's Hidden Regress

Theory and Decision 54 (2):151-162 (2003)
Newcomb's problem supposedly involves your choosing one or else two boxes in circumstances in which a predictor has made a prediction of how many boxes you will choose. We argue that the circumstances which allegedly define Newcomb's problem generate a previously unnoticed regress which shows that Newcomb's problem is insoluble because it is ill-formed. Those who favor, as we do, a ``no-box'' reply to Newcomb's problem typically claim either that the problem's solution is underdetermined or else that it is overdetermined. We are no-boxers of the first kind, but the underdetermination we identify is more radical than any previously identified: it blocks the very set-up of the problem and not just potential solutions to the problem once it has been set up. The defect is subtle, but it cripples every genuine version of the problem, regardless of variations in such things as the predictor's degree of reliability, the basis on which the prediction is made, or the amount of money in each box. The regress shows that, surprisingly enough, no one can understand Newcomb's problem, and so no one can possibly solve it
Keywords Economics / Management Science   Economics/Management Science, general   Operation Research/Decision Theory   Methodology of the Social Sciences
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1023/A:1026249026940
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,781
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
The Newxin Puzzle.Chrisoula Andreou - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 139 (3):415-422.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
The Meta-Newcomb Problem.Nick Bostrom - 2001 - Analysis 61 (4):309–310.
How Braess' Paradox Solves Newcomb's Problem.A. D. Irvine - 1993 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7 (2):141 – 160.
How Braess' Paradox Solves Newcomb's Problem: Not!Louis Marinoff - 1996 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 10 (3):217 – 237.
Newcomb's Paradox Realized with Backward Causation.Jan Hendrik Schmidt - 1998 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (1):67-87.
Simpson's Paradox and the Fisher-Newcomb Problem.Carl G. Wagner - 1991 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 40:185-194.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
67 ( #81,385 of 2,199,496 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #149,211 of 2,199,496 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature