Success-First Decision Theories

In Arif Ahmed (ed.), Newcomb's Problem. Cambridge University Press. pp. 115–137 (2018)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
The standard formulation of Newcomb's problem compares evidential and causal conceptions of expected utility, with those maximizing evidential expected utility tending to end up far richer. Thus, in a world in which agents face Newcomb problems, the evidential decision theorist might ask the causal decision theorist: "if you're so smart, why ain’cha rich?” Ultimately, however, the expected riches of evidential decision theorists in Newcomb problems do not vindicate their theory, because their success does not generalize. Consider a theory that allows the agents who employ it to end up rich in worlds containing Newcomb problems and continues to outperform in other cases. This type of theory, which I call a “success-first” decision theory, is motivated by the desire to draw a tighter connection between rationality and success, rather than to support any particular account of expected utility. The primary aim of this paper is to provide a comprehensive justification of success-first decision theories as accounts of rational decision. I locate this justification in an experimental approach to decision theory supported by the aims of methodological naturalism.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
GRESDT
Upload history
Archival date: 2019-01-14
View other versions
Added to PP index
2019-01-14

Total views
352 ( #15,382 of 56,897 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
74 ( #9,197 of 56,897 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.