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"Click!" Bait for Causalists

Price, Huw and Liu, Yang (2017) "Click!" Bait for Causalists. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Causalists and Evidentialists can agree about the right course of action in an (apparent) Newcomb problem, if the causal facts are not as initially they seem. If declining $1,000 causes the Predictor to have placed $1m in the opaque box, CDT agrees with EDT that one-boxing is rational. This creates a difficulty for Causalists. We explain the problem with reference to Dummett's work on backward causation and Lewis's on chance and crystal balls. We show that the possibility that the causal facts might be properly judged to be non-standard in Newcomb problems leads to a dilemma for Causalism. One horn embraces a subjectivist understanding of causation, in a sense analogous to Lewis's own subjectivist conception of objective chance. In this case the analogy with chance reveals a terminological choice point, such that either (i) CDT is completely reconciled with EDT, or (ii) EDT takes precedence in the cases in which the two theories give different recommendations. The other horn of the dilemma rejects subjectivism, but now the analogy with chance suggests that it is simply mysterious why causation so construed should constrain rational action.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Price, Huwmachuw@gmail.com0000-0002-9091-760X
Liu, Yangliu@yliu.net0000-0001-8865-4647
Additional Information: To appear in Ahmed, A. ed., Newcomb’s Problem, Cambridge University Press, 2018
Keywords: Decision theory, Newcomb's problem, Dummett, subjectivism, causation, chance
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Decision Theory
Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Depositing User: Prof Huw Price
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2018 20:22
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2018 20:22
Item ID: 14400
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Decision Theory
Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Date: 22 February 2017
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14400

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