Causal Decision Theory reckons the choice-worthiness of an option to be completely independent of its evidential bearing on its non-effects. But after one has made a choice this bearing is relevant to future decisions. Therefore it is possible to construct problems of sequential choice in which Causal Decision Theory makes a guaranteed loss. So Causal Decision Theory is wrong. The source of the problem is the idea that agents have a special perspective on their own contemplated actions, from which evidential (...) connections that observers can see are either irrelevant or invisible. (shrink)
The essay presents a novel counterexample to Causal Decision Theory (CDT). Its interest is that it generates a case in which CDT violates the very principles that motivated it in the first place. The essay argues that the objection applies to all extant formulations of CDT and that the only way out for that theory is a modification of it that entails incompatibilism. The essay invites the reader to find this consequence of CDT a reason to reject it.
The best justification of time-discounting is roughly that it is rational to care less about your more distant future because there is less of you around to have it. I argue that the standard version of this argument, which treats both psychological continuity and psychological connectedness as reasons to care about your future, can only rationalize an irrational—because exploitable—form of future discounting.
Good’s theorem is the apparent platitude that it is always rational to ‘look before you leap’: to gather information before making a decision when doing so is free. We argue that Good’s theorem is not platitudinous and may be false. And we argue that the correct advice is rather to ‘make your act depend on the answer to a question’. Looking before you leap is rational when, but only when, it is a way to do this.
Most philosophers agree that causal knowledge is essential to decision-making: agents should choose from the available options those that probably cause the outcomes that they want. This book argues against this theory and in favour of evidential or Bayesian decision theory, which emphasises the symptomatic value of options over their causal role. It examines a variety of settings, including economic theory, quantum mechanics and philosophical thought-experiments, where causal knowledge seems to make a practical difference. The arguments make novel use of (...) machinery from other areas of philosophical inquiry, including first-person epistemology and the free will debate. The book also illustrates the applicability of decision theory itself to questions about the direction of time and the special epistemic status of agents. (shrink)
The paper argues that on three out of eight possible hypotheses about the EPR experiment we can construct novel and realistic decision problems on which (a) Causal Decision Theory and Evidential Decision Theory conflict (b) Causal Decision Theory and the EPR statistics conflict. We infer that anyone who fully accepts any of these three hypotheses has strong reasons to reject Causal Decision Theory. Finally, we extend the original construction to show that anyone who gives any of the three hypotheses any (...) non-zero credence has strong reasons to reject Causal Decision Theory. However, we concede that no version of the Many Worlds Interpretation (Vaidman, in Zalta, E.N. (ed.), Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy 2014) gives rise to the conflicts that we point out. (shrink)
Causal decision theory (CDT) cares only about the effects of a contemplated act, not its causes. The article constructs a case in which CDT consequently recommends a bet that the agent is certain to lose, rather than a bet that she is certain to win. CDT is plainly giving wrong advice in this case. It therefore stands refuted. 1 The Argument2 The Argument in More Detail2.1 The betting mechanism2.2 Soft determinism2.3 The content of P 2.4 The argument again3 The Descriptive (...) Premise3.1 Causal decision theory3.2 Causal decision theory prefers A14 The Normative Premise5 Objections5.1 Table 1 and Table 2 are misleading5.2 The agency theory of causation5.3 The payment mechanism5.4 Newcomb’s problem5.5 Against the normative premise5.6 Drop soft determinism. (shrink)
This discussion note examines a recent argument for the principle that any counterfactual with true components is itself true. That argument rests upon two widely accepted principles of counterfactual logic to which the paper presents counterexamples. The conclusion speculates briefly upon the wider lessons that philosophers should draw from these examples for the semantics of counterfactuals.
The Humean argument concerning miracles says that one should always think it more likely that anyone who testifies to a miracle is lying or deluded than that the alleged miracle actually occurred, and so should always reject any single report of it. A longstanding and widely accepted objection is that even if this is right, the concurring and non-collusive testimony of many witnesses should make it rational to believe in whatever miracle they all report. I argue that on the contrary, (...) even multiple reports from non-collusive witnesses lack the sort of independence that could make trouble for Hume. (shrink)
You should rather play hide-and-seek against someone who cannot predict where you hide than against someone who can, as the article illustrates in connection with a high-stakes example. Causal Decision Theory denies this. So Causal Decision Theory is false.
The best-known argument for Evidential Decision Theory (EDT) is the ‘Why ain’cha rich?’ challenge to rival Causal Decision Theory (CDT). The basis for this challenge is that in Newcomb-like situations, acts that conform to EDT may be known in advance to have the better return than acts that conform to CDT. Frank Arntzenius has recently proposed an ingenious counter argument, based on an example in which, he claims, it is predictable in advance that acts that conform to EDT will do (...) less well than acts that conform to CDT. We raise two objections to Arntzenius’s example. We argue, first, that the example is subtly incoherent, in a way that undermines its effectiveness against EDT; and, second, that the example relies on calculating the average return over an inappropriate population of acts. (shrink)
The paper offers a model of Kant's claim that unity of consciousness entails objectivity of experience. This claim has nothing especially to do with thought, language or the categories but is a general truth about arbitrary signaling systems of the sort modeled in the paper. In conclusion I draw some consequences for various forms of idealism.
Opponents of Causal Decision Theory (CDT) sometimes claim (i) that it gives the wrong advice in Egan-style cases, where the CDT-endorsed act brings news that it causes a bad outcome; (ii) that CDT gives the right advice in Newcomb cases, where it is known in advance that the CDT-act causes you to be richer than the alternative. This paper argues that (i) and (ii) cannot both be true if rational preference over acts is transitive.
Probably many people have cyclic preferences: they prefer A to B, B to C and C to A for some objects of choice A, B and C. Recent work has resurrected the objection to cyclic preference that agents possessing them are open to exploitation by means of ‘money pumps’. The paper briefly reviews this work and proposes a general approach to problems of sequential choice that makes cyclic preference immune to exploitation by means of these new mechanisms.
Background Posthumous organ procurement is hindered by the consenting process. Several consenting systems have been proposed. There is limited information on public relative attitudes towards various consenting systems, especially in Middle Eastern/Islamic countries. Methods We surveyed 698 Saudi Adults attending outpatient clinics at a tertiary care hospital. Preference and perception of norm regarding consenting options for posthumous organ donation were explored. Participants ranked (1, most agreeable) the following, randomly-presented, options from 1 to 11: no-organ-donation, presumed consent, informed consent by donor-only, (...) informed consent by donor-or-surrogate, and mandatory choice; the last three options ± medical or financial incentive. Results Mean(SD) age was 32(9) year, 27% were males, 50% were patients’ companions, 60% had ≥ college education, and 20% and 32%, respectively, knew an organ donor or recipient. Mandated choice was among the top three choices for preference of 54% of respondents, with an overall median[25%,75%] ranking score of 3[2,6], and was preferred over donor-or-surrogate informed consent (4[2,7], p vs. 11[6,11], respectively, p = 0.002). Compared to females, males more perceived donor-or-surrogate informed consent as the norm (3[1,6] vs. 5[3,7], p vs. 8[4,9], p vs. 5[2,7], p Conclusions We conclude that: 1) most respondents were in favor of posthumous organ donation, 2) mandated choice system was the most preferred and presumed consent system was the least preferred, 3) there was no difference between preference and perception of norm in consenting systems ranking, and 4) financial (especially in females) and medical (especially in males) incentives reduced preference. (shrink)
has offered evidential decision theorists a defence against the charge that they make unintuitive recommendations for cases like Newcomb's Problem. He says that when conditional probabilities are assessed from the agent's point of view, evidential decision theory makes the same recommendation as intuition. I argue that calculating the probabilities in Price's way leads to no recommendation. It condemns the agent to perpetual oscillation between different options. Price's Argument Instability Objections Conclusion.
It is intuitively attractive to think that it makes a difference in Newcomb’s problem whether or not the predictor is infallible, in the sense of being certainly actually correct. This paper argues that that view is irrational and manifests a well-documented cognitive illusion.
Mario Gómez-Torrente (2006) says that whilst theoretical identifications (e.g. 'All lightning is electrical discharge') do not entail their own necessitations, they do entail the necessitation of a weaker statement. And he claims that this weaker entailment serves Kripke's purposes as well as the stronger one would have. I argue that this is false. Section 1 says what the weaker entailment is; section 2 says why it matters. Section 3 argues that the entailment identified at section 1 does not meet the (...) purpose identified at section 2. Section 4 rejects two possible objections. The aim is to illustrate (not establish) the general claim that those 'modal facts' that are not entirely speculative are quite useless. (shrink)
The paper argues against Bob Hale's (1999) argument that enquirers must regard some truths as necessary truths. Hale's argument against Quinean skepticism. like many similar arguments due to McFetridge, Wright and others, involves a quantifier shift fallacy.
Andy Egan's Smoking Lesion and Psycho Button cases are supposed to be counterexamples to Causal Decision Theory. This paper argues that they are not: more precisely, it argues that if CDT makes the right call in Newcomb's problem then it makes the right call in Egan cases too.
OBJECTIVES: To compare the practices of local research ethics committees and the time they take to obtain ethical approval for a multi-centre study. DESIGN: A retrospective analysis of outcome of applications for a multi-centre study to local research ethics committees. SETTING: Thirty-six local research ethics committees covering 38 district health authorities in England. MAIN MEASURES: Response of chairmen and women, the time required to obtain approval, and questions asked in application forms. RESULTS: We received replies from all 36 chairmen contacted: (...) four (11%) granted their approval, and 32 (89%) required our proposal to be considered by their local research ethics committee. Three committees asked us to attend their meetings. The application was approved by all 36 local research ethics committees but the time to obtain ethical approval varied between six to 208 days. One third of the committees did not approve the project within three months, and three took longer than six months. There was considerable variation in the issues raised by local research ethics committees and none conformed exactly to the Royal College of Physicians' guidelines. CONCLUSION: Obtaining ethical approval for a multi-centre study is time-consuming. There is much diversity in the practice of local research ethics committees. Our data support the recommendation for a central or regional review body of multi-centre studies which will be acceptable to all local research ethics committees. (shrink)
Sophisticated ‘tickle’-style defences of Evidential Decision Theory take your motivational state to screen off your act from any state that is causally independent of it, thus ensuring that EDT and CDT converge. That leads to unacceptable instability in cases in which the correct action is obvious. We need a more liberal conception of what the agent controls. It follows that an ordinary deliberator should sometimes consider the past and not only the future to be subject to her present choice.
A resolution must give “seeing it differently” a sense that makes it clear that it is seeing that one is doing differently and not something else that is going on at the same time. The Berlin school of gestalt psychology took the view that alongside the colors and shapes traditionally thought to compose the visual field was a similarly perceptible aspect of “organization”. Wittgenstein considers the possibility of a physiological explanation of aspect change. This chapter details the Wittgenstein's account that (...) it is worth making three general comments about what explaining a psychological concept involves, according to his later philosophy. It focuses on Wittgenstein's writings on sensory aspects and non-sensory aspects. Kant's proposal was that the intuition is of an a priori manifold; but perhaps what is more plausible is that the objects of synoptic vision are not themselves individuals but concepts. (shrink)
The paper summarizes the main points of Quine's epistemology and philosophy of language: empiricism, holism, semantic behaviourism, inscrutability of reference, indterminacy of translation and the rejection of analyticity.
Shifting laws and regulations increasingly displace the centrality of women's health concerns in the provision of abortion services. This is exemplified by the growing presence of deceptive Crisis Pregnancy Centers alongside new informed consent laws designed to dissuade women from seeking abortions. Litigation on informed consent is further complicated in the clinical context due to the increased mobilization of facts – such as the gestational age or sonogram of the fetus – delivered with the intent to dissuade women from accessing (...) abortion. In other words, factual information utilized for ideological purpose. To preserve a woman's autonomy and decision-making capacity, there must be a concerted effort on the part of legislators and courts to place a woman's health at the center of abortion law and policy. (shrink)
Deductive inference seems to reveal semantic connections between their premise(s) and conclusion that were there all along. This looks inconsistent with Wittgenstein's later views on meaning. The paper argues that W's treatment of aspects suggests a Wittgensteinian treatment of deduction that accommodates the troublesome phenomenon without conceding its force.
Muslim women and Muslim members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community face a specific form of dual subordination in relation to their gender and sexuality. A Muslim woman might seek solace from India's patriarchal religious judicial structures only to find that the secular system's patriarchal structures likewise aid in their subordination and create a space for new forms of such subordination. Similarly, a marginalized LGBT Muslim might attempt to reject an oppressive religious formulation only to come to find (...) that the secular Indian state might criminalize a particular form of sexuality. This analysis explores how Indian laws "give meaning" to sexuality through the legal structures manifested by state and religious regulatory bodies and argues that both religious and state legal institutions need to be reformed to create a legal environment that furthers rather than inhibits a full realization of sexual rights. (shrink)
Newcomb's Problem is a controversial paradox of decision theory. It is easily explained and easily understood, and there is a strong chance that most of us have actually faced it in some form or other. And yet it has proven as thorny and intractable a puzzle as much older and better-known philosophical problems of consciousness, scepticism and fatalism. It brings into very sharp and focused disagreement several long-standing philosophical theories on practical rationality, on the nature of free will, and on (...) the direction and analysis of causation. This volume introduces readers to the nature of Newcomb's Problem, and ten chapters by leading scholars present the most recent debates around the Problem and analyse its ramifications for decision theory, metaphysics, philosophical psychology and political science. Their chapters highlight the status of Newcomb's Problem as a live and continuing issue in modern philosophy. (shrink)
Saul Kripke is one of the most important and original post-war analytic philosophers. His work has undeniably had a profound impact on the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind. Yet his ideas are amongst the most challenging frequently encountered by students of philosophy. In this informative and accessible book, Arif Ahmed provides a clear and thorough account of Kripke's philosophy, his major works and ideas, providing an ideal guide to the important and complex thought of this key philosopher. (...) The book offers a detailed review of his two major works, Naming and Necessity and Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language, and explores how Kripke's ideas often seem to overturn widely accepted views and even perceptions of common sense. Geared towards the specific requirements of students who need to reach a sound understanding of Kripke's thought, the book provides a cogent and reliable survey of the nature and significance of Kripke's contribution to philosophy. This is the ideal companion to the study of this most influential and challenging of philosophers. (shrink)
This book offers for the first time a complete scholarly translation, commentary, and glossary in a modern European language of the logic section of Ibn S=in=a's (d. 1037 CE) very important compendium Ial-Naj=at (The Deliverance). The original, written in Arabic, is the product of the middle period of the most renowned Muslim philosopher and physician, known in the Latin West as Avicenna. Avicenna's logic system took as its starting point the Aristotelian and the Peripatetic tradition, but diverged from these in (...) fascinating and original ways. The system presented by him becaume the standard reference and focus of further elaboration, debate, and innovation in the Islamic scholarly tradition, deeply influencing both the 'traditional religious' sciences (such as theology and law) and the naturalized Greek system (such as metaphysics). Because the Naj=at is both comprehensive and relatively terse, this translation, which has been the diachronic subject of study in various mad=aris and has a number of attached commentaries and glosses, will be extremely useful to those who do not read Arabic, but who wish to gain an overview of Avicenna's logic. (shrink)