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Standard and Non-Standard Newcomb Problems

W. J. Talbott
Synthese
Vol. 70, No. 3 (Mar., 1987), pp. 415-458
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20116379
Page Count: 44
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Standard and Non-Standard Newcomb Problems
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Abstract

Examples involving common causes -- most prominently, examples involving genetically influenced choices -- are analytically equivalent not to standard Newcomb Problems -- in which the Predictor genuinely predicts the agent's decision -- but to non-standard Newcomb Problems -- in which the Predictor guarantees the truth of her "predictions" by interfering with the agent's decision to make the agent choose as it was "predicted" she would. When properly qualified, causal and epistemic decision theories diverge only on standard -- not on non-standard -- Newcomb Problems, and thus not on examples involving common causes.

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