An Interventionist’s Guide to Exotic Choice

Mind 130 (518):537-566 (2021)
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In this paper, I use interventionist causal models to identify some novel Newcomb problems, and subsequently use these problems to refine existing interventionist treatments of causal decision theory. The new Newcomb problems that make trouble for existing interventionist treatments involve so-called ‘exotic choice’—that is, decision-making contexts where the agent has evidence about the outcome of her choice. I argue that when choice is exotic, the interventionist can adequately capture causal decision-theoretic reasoning by introducing a new interventionist approach to updating on exotic evidence. But I also argue that this new updating procedure is principled only if the interventionist trades in the typical interventionist conception of choice for an alternative Ramseyan conception. I end by arguing that the guide to exotic choice developed here may, despite its name, be useful in some everyday contexts.

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Reuben Stern
Duke University


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