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Unboxing the Concepts in Newcomb’s Paradox: Causation, Prediction, Decision in Causal Knowledge Patterns

Poellinger, Roland (2013) Unboxing the Concepts in Newcomb’s Paradox: Causation, Prediction, Decision in Causal Knowledge Patterns. [Preprint]

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Abstract

In Nozick’s rendition of the decision situation given in Newcomb’s Paradox dominance and the principle of maximum expected utility recommend different strategies. While evidential decision theory (EDT) seems to be split over which principle to apply and how to interpret the principles in the first place, causal decision theory (CDT) seems to go for the solution recommended by dominance (“two-boxing”). As a reply to the CDT proposal by Wolfgang Spohn, who opts for “one-boxing” by employing reflexive decision graphs, I will draw on the framework of causal knowledge patterns, i.e., Bayes net causal models (cf. e.g. Pearl 2000), augmented by non-causal knowledge (epistemic contours), to finally arrive at “one-boxing” – more intuitively and more closely to what actually is in Nozick’s story. This proposal allows the careful re-examination of all relevant concepts in the original story and might cast new light on the following questions: How may causality in general be understood to allow causal inference from hybrid patterns encoding subjective knowledge? How can the notion of prediction be analyzed – philosophically and formally? And what’s the decision-maker’s conceptualization of the situation he will act upon?


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Poellinger, Rolandr.poellinger@lmu.de
Keywords: evidential vs causal decision theory, Newcomb’s paradox, causal models, interventionist account of causation
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Decision Theory
General Issues > Thought Experiments
Depositing User: Dr. Roland Poellinger
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2013 07:35
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2013 10:02
Item ID: 9876
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Decision Theory
General Issues > Thought Experiments
Date: 1 July 2013
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9876

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