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Causation, decision theory, and Bell's theorem: a quantum analogue of the Newcomb problem

Cavalcanti, Eric G. (2009) Causation, decision theory, and Bell's theorem: a quantum analogue of the Newcomb problem. [Preprint]


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I apply some of the lessons from quantum theory, in particular from Bell's theorem, to a debate on the foundations of decision theory and causation. By tracing a formal analogy between the basic assumptions of Causal Decision Theory (CDT)---which was developed partly in response to Newcomb's problem--- and those of a Local Hidden Variable (LHV) theory in the context of quantum mechanics, I show that an agent who acts according to CDT and gives any nonzero credence to some possible causal interpretations underlying quantum phenomena should bet against quantum mechanics in some feasible game scenarios involving entangled systems, no matter what evidence they acquire. As a consequence, either the most accepted version of decision theory is wrong, or it provides a practical distinction, in terms of the prescribed behaviour of rational agents, between some metaphysical hypotheses regarding the causal structure underlying quantum mechanics.

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Item Type: Preprint
Cavalcanti, Eric G.
Additional Information: To appear in the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
Keywords: causation, decision theory, Bell's theorem, quantum foundations, causal decision theory, evidential decision theory, Bayesian decision theory, Newcomb's problem, Newcomb's paradox
Subjects: General Issues > Decision Theory
General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Eric G. Cavalcanti
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2009
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:18
Item ID: 4872

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