International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 10 (3):217 – 237 (1996)
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 Newcomb's problem. This paper shows that Irvine's linkage depends on structural similarities?rather than identities?between and among the models. The elucidation of functional disanalogies illuminates structural dissimilarities which sever that linkage. I claim that the Cohen?Kelly queuing paradox cloaks a fine structure that decouples it from both Braess? paradox and the PD (Marinoff, 1996a). I further assert that the putative reduction of the PD to a Newcomb problem (e.g. Brams, 1975; Lewis, 1979) is seriously flawed. It follows that Braess? paradox does not solve Newcomb's problem via the foregoing and herein sundered chain. I conclude by substantiating a stronger claim, namely that Braess'paradox cannot solve Newcomb's problem at all
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