Results for 'causal decision theory'

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  1. Causal Decision Theory and Decision Instability.Brad Armendt - 2019 - Journal of Philosophy 116 (5):263-277.
    The problem of the man who met death in Damascus appeared in the infancy of the theory of rational choice known as causal decision theory. A straightforward, unadorned version of causal decision theory is presented here and applied, along with Brian Skyrms’ deliberation dynamics, to Death in Damascus and similar problems. Decision instability is a fascinating topic, but not a source of difficulty for causal decision theory. Andy Egan’s purported (...)
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  2. A Foundation for Causal Decision Theory.Brad Armendt - 1986 - Topoi 5 (1):3-19.
    The primary aim of this paper is the presentation of a foundation for causal decision theory. This is worth doing because causal decision theory (CDT) is philosophically the most adequate rational decision theory now available. I will not defend that claim here by elaborate comparison of the theory with all its competitors, but by providing the foundation. This puts the theory on an equal footing with competitors for which foundations have (...)
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  3. Causal Decision Theory: A Counterexample.Arif Ahmed - 2013 - Philosophical Review 122 (2):289-306.
    The essay presents a novel counterexample to Causal Decision Theory (CDT). Its interest is that it generates a case in which CDT violates the very principles that motivated it in the first place. The essay argues that the objection applies to all extant formulations of CDT and that the only way out for that theory is a modification of it that entails incompatibilism. The essay invites the reader to find this consequence of CDT a reason to (...)
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  4. Causal Decision Theory and EPR Correlations.Arif Ahmed & Adam Caulton - 2014 - Synthese 191 (18):4315-4352.
    The paper argues that on three out of eight possible hypotheses about the EPR experiment we can construct novel and realistic decision problems on which (a) Causal Decision Theory and Evidential Decision Theory conflict (b) Causal Decision Theory and the EPR statistics conflict. We infer that anyone who fully accepts any of these three hypotheses has strong reasons to reject Causal Decision Theory. Finally, we extend the original construction (...)
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  5. Overdetermination in Intuitive Causal Decision Theory.Esteban Céspedes - 2013 - In Miguel Hoeltje, Thomas Spitzley & Wolfgang Spohn (eds.), Was dürfen wir glauben? Was sollen wir tun? Sektionsbeiträge des achten internationalen Kongresses der Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie e.V.
    Causal decision theory defines a rational action as the one that tends to cause the best outcomes. If we adopt counterfactual or probabilistic theories of causation, then we may face problems in overdetermination cases. Do such problems affect Causal decision theory? The aim of this work is to show that the concept of causation that has been fundamental in all versions of causal decision theory is not the most intuitive one. Since (...)
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  6. Conditionals in Causal Decision Theory.John Cantwell - 2013 - Synthese 190 (4):661-679.
    This paper explores the possibility that causal decision theory can be formulated in terms of probabilities of conditionals. It is argued that a generalized Stalnaker semantics in combination with an underlying branching time structure not only provides the basis for a plausible account of the semantics of indicative conditionals, but also that the resulting conditionals have properties that make them well-suited as a basis for formulating causal decision theory. Decision theory (at least (...)
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  7. Supposition and Choice: Why 'Causal Decision Theory' is a Misnomer.John Collins - unknown
    This paper has as its topic two recent philosophical disputes. One of these disputes is internal to the project known as decision theory, and while by now familiar to many, may well seem to be of pressing concern only to specialists. It has been carried on over the last twenty years or so, but by now the two opposing camps are pretty well entrenched in their respective positions, and the situation appears to many observers (as well as to (...)
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  8. Egan and Agents: How Evidential Decision Theory Can Deal with Egan’s Dilemma.Daniel Dohrn - 2015 - Synthese 192 (6):1883-1908.
    Andy Egan has presented a dilemma for decision theory. As is well known, Newcomb cases appear to undermine the case for evidential decision theory. However, Egan has come up with a new scenario which poses difficulties for causal decision theory. I offer a simple solution to this dilemma in terms of a modified EDT. I propose an epistemological test: take some feature which is relevant to your evaluation of the scenarios under consideration, evidentially (...)
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  9. Mixed Strategies and Ratifiability in Causal Decision Theory.William Harper - 1986 - Erkenntnis 24 (1):25 - 36.
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  10. Decision Theory, Symmetry and Causal Structure: Reply to Meacham and Weisberg.Michael Clark & Nicholas Shackel - 2003 - Mind 112 (448):691-701.
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  11.  42
    Tournament Decision Theory.Abelard Podgorski - forthcoming - Noûs.
    The dispute in philosophical decision theory between causalists and evidentialists remains unsettled. Many are attracted to the causal view’s endorsement of a species of dominance reasoning, and to the intuitive verdicts it gets on a range of cases with the structure of the infamous Newcomb’s Problem. But it also faces a rising wave of purported counterexamples and theoretical challenges. In this paper I will describe a novel decision theory which saves what is appealing about the (...)
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  12. What Decision Theory Provides the Best Procedure for Identifying the Best Action Available to a Given Artificially Intelligent System?Samuel A. Barnett - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Oxford
    Decision theory has had a long-standing history in the behavioural and social sciences as a tool for constructing good approximations of human behaviour. Yet as artificially intelligent systems (AIs) grow in intellectual capacity and eventually outpace humans, decision theory becomes evermore important as a model of AI behaviour. What sort of decision procedure might an AI employ? In this work, I propose that policy-based causal decision theory (PCDT), which places a primacy on (...)
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  13. Decision Theory, Intelligent Planning and Counterfactuals.Michael John Shaffer - 2008 - Minds and Machines 19 (1):61-92.
    The ontology of decision theory has been subject to considerable debate in the past, and discussion of just how we ought to view decision problems has revealed more than one interesting problem, as well as suggested some novel modifications of classical decision theory. In this paper it will be argued that Bayesian, or evidential, decision-theoretic characterizations of decision situations fail to adequately account for knowledge concerning the causal connections between acts, states, and (...)
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  14. Determinism, Counterfactuals, and Decision.Alexander Sandgren & Timothy Luke Williamson - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-17.
    Rational agents face choices, even when taking seriously the possibility of determinism. Rational agents also follow the advice of Causal Decision Theory (CDT). Although many take these claims to be well-motivated, there is growing pressure to reject one of them, as CDT seems to go badly wrong in some deterministic cases. We argue that deterministic cases do not undermine a counterfactual model of rational deliberation, which is characteristic of CDT. Rather, they force us to distinguish between counterfactuals (...)
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  15.  76
    A Critique of the Causal Theory of Memory.Marina Trakas - 2010 - Dissertation,
    In this Master's dissertation, I try to show that the causal theory of memory, which is the only theory developed so far that at first view seems more plausible and that could be integrated with psychological explanations and investigations of memory, shows some conceptual and ontological problems that go beyond the internal inconsistencies that each version can present. On one hand, the memory phenomenon analyzed is very limited: in general it is reduced to the conscious act of (...)
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  16. Success-First Decision Theories.Preston Greene - 2018 - In Arif Ahmed (ed.), Newcomb's Problem. Cambridge University Press. pp. 115–137.
    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 (...)
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  17. The Causal Decision Theorist's Guide to Managing the News.J. Dmitri Gallow - 2020 - Journal of Philosophy 117 (3):117-149.
    According to orthodox causal decision theory, performing an action can give you information about factors outside of your control, but you should not take this information into account when deciding what to do. Causal decision theorists caution against an irrational policy of 'managing the news'. But, by providing information about factors outside of your control, performing an act can give you two, importantly different, kinds of good news. It can tell you that the world in (...)
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  18. If You're so Smart Why Are You Ignorant? Epistemic Causal Paradoxes.Adam Morton - 2002 - Analysis 62 (2):110-116.
    I describe epistemic versions of the contrast between causal and conventionally probabilistic decision theory, including an epistemic version of Newcomb's paradox.
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  19.  74
    Rational Monism and Rational Pluralism.Jack Spencer - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    Consequentialists often assume rational monism: the thesis that options are always made rationally permissible by the maximization of the selfsame quantity. This essay argues that consequentialists should reject rational monism and instead accept rational pluralism: the thesis that, on different occasions, options are made rationally permissible by the maximization of different quantities. The essay then develops a systematic form of rational pluralism which, unlike its rivals, is capable of handling both the Newcomb problems that challenge evidential decision theory (...)
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  20.  63
    Frustration and Delay.Arif Ahmed - manuscript
    Abstract. The paper describes a situation in which Causal Decision Theory (CDT) advises the agent to decline a free offer of $1,000, with the foreseeable result that the agent is $1,000 poorer than if she had taken the offer. I take this absurd consequence of CDT to constitute a refutation of it.
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  21. Equal Opportunity and Newcomb’s Problem.Ian Wells - 2019 - Mind 128 (510):429-457.
    The 'Why ain'cha rich?' argument for one-boxing in Newcomb's problem allegedly vindicates evidential decision theory and undermines causal decision theory. But there is a good response to the argument on behalf of causal decision theory. I develop this response. Then I pose a new problem and use it to give a new 'Why ain'cha rich?' argument. Unlike the old argument, the new argument targets evidential decision theory. And unlike the old (...)
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  22. What Does Decision Theory Have to Do with Wanting?Milo Phillips-Brown - forthcoming - Mind.
    Decision theory and folk psychology both purport to represent the same phenomena: our belief-like and desire- and preference-like states. They also purport to do the same work with these representations: explain and predict our actions. But they do so with different sets of concepts. There's much at stake in whether one of these two sets of concepts can be accounted for with the other. Without such an account, we'd have two competing representations and systems of prediction and explanation, (...)
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  23. Sequential Choice and the Agent's Perspective.Arif Ahmed - manuscript
    Causal Decision Theory reckons the choice-worthiness of an option to be completely independent of its evidential bearing on its non-effects. But after one has made a choice this bearing is relevant to future decisions. Therefore it is possible to construct problems of sequential choice in which Causal Decision Theory makes a guaranteed loss. So Causal Decision Theory is wrong. The source of the problem is the idea that agents have a special (...)
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  24. A New Problem with Mixed Decisions, Or: You’Ll Regret Reading This Article, But You Still Should.Benjamin Plommer - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (2):349-373.
    Andy Egan recently drew attention to a class of decision situations that provide a certain kind of informational feedback, which he claims constitute a counterexample to causal decision theory. Arntzenius and Wallace have sought to vindicate a form of CDT by describing a dynamic process of deliberation that culminates in a “mixed” decision. I show that, for many of the cases in question, this proposal depends on an incorrect way of calculating expected utilities, and argue (...)
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  25. Smokers and Psychos: Egan Cases Don't Work.Arif Ahmed - manuscript
    Andy Egan's Smoking Lesion and Psycho Button cases are supposed to be counterexamples to Causal Decision Theory. This paper argues that they are not: more precisely, it argues that if CDT makes the right call in Newcomb's problem then it makes the right call in Egan cases too.
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  26. Expected utility theory, Jeffrey’s decision theory, and the paradoxes.Philippe Mongin & Jean Baccelli - forthcoming - Synthese:1-19.
    In Richard Bradley's book, Decision Theory with a Human Face (2017), we have selected two themes for discussion. The first is the Bolker-Jeffrey (BJ) theory of decision, which the book uses throughout as a tool to reorganize the whole field of decision theory, and in particular to evaluate the extent to which expected utility (EU) theories may be normatively too demanding. The second theme is the redefinition strategy that can be used to defend EU (...)
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  27. Belief Gambles in Epistemic Decision Theory.Mattias Skipper - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-20.
    Don't form beliefs on the basis of coin flips or random guesses. More generally, don't take belief gambles: if a proposition is no more likely to be true than false given your total body of evidence, don't go ahead and believe that proposition. Few would deny this seemingly innocuous piece of epistemic advice. But what, exactly, is wrong with taking belief gambles? Philosophers have debated versions of this question at least since the classic dispute between William Clifford and William James (...)
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  28.  57
    Out of Nowhere: Spacetime From Causality: Causal Set Theory.Christian Wüthrich & Nick Huggett - manuscript
    This is a chapter of the planned monograph "Out of Nowhere: The Emergence of Spacetime in Quantum Theories of Gravity", co-authored by Nick Huggett and Christian Wüthrich and under contract with Oxford University Press. (More information at www<dot>beyondspacetime<dot>net.) This chapter introduces causal set theory and identifies and articulates a 'problem of space' in this theory.
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  29. Decision Theory.Lara Buchak - 2016 - In Christopher Hitchcock & Alan Hajek (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Probability and Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    Decision theory has at its core a set of mathematical theorems that connect rational preferences to functions with certain structural properties. The components of these theorems, as well as their bearing on questions surrounding rationality, can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Philosophy’s current interest in decision theory represents a convergence of two very different lines of thought, one concerned with the question of how one ought to act, and the other concerned with the question (...)
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  30. Decision Theory for Agents with Incomplete Preferences.Adam Bales, Daniel Cohen & Toby Handfield - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (3):453-70.
    Orthodox decision theory gives no advice to agents who hold two goods to be incommensurate in value because such agents will have incomplete preferences. According to standard treatments, rationality requires complete preferences, so such agents are irrational. Experience shows, however, that incomplete preferences are ubiquitous in ordinary life. In this paper, we aim to do two things: (1) show that there is a good case for revising decision theory so as to allow it to apply non-vacuously (...)
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  31. Bayesian Decision Theory and Stochastic Independence.Philippe Mongin - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (1):152-178.
    As stochastic independence is essential to the mathematical development of probability theory, it seems that any foundational work on probability should be able to account for this property. Bayesian decision theory appears to be wanting in this respect. Savage’s postulates on preferences under uncertainty entail a subjective expected utility representation, and this asserts only the existence and uniqueness of a subjective probability measure, regardless of its properties. What is missing is a preference condition corresponding to stochastic independence. (...)
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  32. Bayesian Decision Theory and Stochastic Independence.Philippe Mongin - 2017 - TARK 2017.
    Stochastic independence has a complex status in probability theory. It is not part of the definition of a probability measure, but it is nonetheless an essential property for the mathematical development of this theory. Bayesian decision theorists such as Savage can be criticized for being silent about stochastic independence. From their current preference axioms, they can derive no more than the definitional properties of a probability measure. In a new framework of twofold uncertainty, we introduce preference axioms (...)
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  33. Evidence and Rationalization.Ian Wells - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (3):845-864.
    Suppose that you have to take a test tomorrow but you do not want to study. Unfortunately you should study, since you care about passing and you expect to pass only if you study. Is there anything you can do to make it the case that you should not study? Is there any way for you to ‘rationalize’ slacking off? I suggest that such rationalization is impossible. Then I show that if evidential decision theory is true, rationalization is (...)
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  34.  65
    Risk Attitudes in Axiomatic Decision Theory: A Conceptual Perspective.Jean Baccelli - 2018 - Theory and Decision 84 (1):61-82.
    In this paper, I examine the decision-theoretic status of risk attitudes. I start by providing evidence showing that the risk attitude concepts do not play a major role in the axiomatic analysis of the classic models of decision-making under risk. This can be interpreted as reflecting the neutrality of these models between the possible risk attitudes. My central claim, however, is that such neutrality needs to be qualified and the axiomatic relevance of risk attitudes needs to be re-evaluated (...)
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  35. Decision Theory, Philosophical Perspectives.Darren Bradley - 2013 - In Hal Pashler (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Mind. Sage Publications.
    Decision theory is concerned with how agents should act when the consequences of their actions are uncertain. The central principle of contemporary decision theory is that the rational choice is the choice that maximizes subjective expected utility. This entry explains what this means, and discusses the philosophical motivations and consequences of the theory. The entry will consider some of the main problems and paradoxes that decision theory faces, and some of responses that can (...)
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  36. Advice for the Steady: Decision Theory and the Requirements of Instrumental Rationality.Johanna Thoma - 2017 - Dissertation,
    Standard decision theory, or rational choice theory, is often interpreted to be a theory of instrumental rationality. This dissertation argues, however, that the core requirements of orthodox decision theory cannot be defended as general requirements of instrumental rationality. Instead, I argue that these requirements can only be instrumentally justified to agents who have a desire to have choice dispositions that are stable over time and across different choice contexts. Past attempts at making instrumentalist arguments (...)
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  37. Binding and its Consequences.Christopher J. G. Meacham - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 149 (1):49-71.
    In “Bayesianism, Infinite Decisions, and Binding”, Arntzenius et al. (Mind 113:251–283, 2004 ) present cases in which agents who cannot bind themselves are driven by standard decision theory to choose sequences of actions with disastrous consequences. They defend standard decision theory by arguing that if a decision rule leads agents to disaster only when they cannot bind themselves, this should not be taken to be a mark against the decision rule. I show that this (...)
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  38. Exceeding Expectations: Stochastic Dominance as a General Decision Theory.Christian Tarsney - manuscript
    The principle that rational agents should maximize expected utility or choiceworthiness is intuitively plausible in many ordinary cases of decision-making under uncertainty. But it is less plausible in cases of extreme, low-probability risk (like Pascal's Mugging), and intolerably paradoxical in cases like the St. Petersburg and Pasadena games. In this paper I show that, under certain conditions, stochastic dominance reasoning can capture most of the plausible implications of expectational reasoning while avoiding most of its pitfalls. Specifically, given sufficient background (...)
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  39. Transformative Experience and Decision Theory.Richard Pettigrew - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (3):766-774.
    This paper is part of a book symposium for L. A. Paul (2014) Transformative Experience (OUP).
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  40. A Simpler and More Realistic Subjective Decision Theory.Haim Gaifman & Yang Liu - 2018 - Synthese 195 (10):4205--4241.
    In his classic book “the Foundations of Statistics” Savage developed a formal system of rational decision making. The system is based on (i) a set of possible states of the world, (ii) a set of consequences, (iii) a set of acts, which are functions from states to consequences, and (iv) a preference relation over the acts, which represents the preferences of an idealized rational agent. The goal and the culmination of the enterprise is a representation theorem: Any preference relation (...)
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  41. Transformative Experience and the Knowledge Norms for Action: Moss on Paul’s Challenge to Decision Theory.Richard Pettigrew - 2020 - In Becoming Someone New: Essays on Transformative Experience, Choice, and Change. New York, NY, USA:
    to appear in Lambert, E. and J. Schwenkler (eds.) Transformative Experience (OUP) -/- L. A. Paul (2014, 2015) argues that the possibility of epistemically transformative experiences poses serious and novel problems for the orthodox theory of rational choice, namely, expected utility theory — I call her argument the Utility Ignorance Objection. In a pair of earlier papers, I responded to Paul’s challenge (Pettigrew 2015, 2016), and a number of other philosophers have responded in similar ways (Dougherty, et al. (...)
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  42. Pascal’s Wager and the Origins of Decision Theory: Decision-Making by Real Decision-Makers.James Franklin - 2018 - In Paul Bartha & Lawrence Pasternack (eds.), Pascal's Wager. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 27-44.
    Pascal’s Wager does not exist in a Platonic world of possible gods, abstract probabilities and arbitrary payoffs. Real decision-makers, such as Pascal’s “man of the world” of 1660, face a range of religious options they take to be serious, with fixed probabilities grounded in their evidence, and with utilities that are fixed quantities in actual minds. The many ingenious objections to the Wager dreamed up by philosophers do not apply in such a real decision matrix. In the situation (...)
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  43. Beyond the Causal Theory? Fifty Years After Martin and Deutscher.Kourken Michaelian & Sarah Robins - 2018 - In Kourken Michaelian, Dorothea Debus & Denis Perrin (eds.), New Directions in the Philosophy of Memory. Routledge. pp. 13-32.
    It is natural to think of remembering in terms of causation: I can recall a recent dinner with a friend because I experienced that dinner. Some fifty years ago, Martin and Deutscher (1966) turned this basic thought into a full-fledged theory of memory, a theory that came to dominate the landscape in the philosophy of memory. Remembering, Martin and Deutscher argue, requires the existence of a specific sort of causal connection between the rememberer's original experience of an (...)
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  44. Quantum Theory and the Place of Mind in the Causal Order of Things.Paavo Pylkkänen - 2019 - In J. De Barros & Carlos Montemayor (eds.), Quanta and Mind: Essays on the Connection between Quantum Mechanics and the Consciousness. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Publishing Company. pp. 163-171.
    The received view in physicalist philosophy of mind assumes that causation can only take place at the physical domain and that the physical domain is causally closed. It is often thought that this leaves no room for mental states qua mental to have a causal influence upon the physical domain, leading to epiphenomenalism and the problem of mental causation. However, in recent philosophy of causation there has been growing interest in a line of thought that can be called (...) antifundamentalism: causal notions cannot play a role in physics, because the fundamental laws of physics are radically different from causal laws. Causal anti-fundamentalism seems to challenge the received view in physicalist philosophy of mind and thus raises the possibility of there being genuine mental causation after all. This paper argues that while causal anti-fundamentalism provides a possible route to mental causation, we have reasons to think that it is incorrect. Does this mean that we have to accept the received view and give up the hope of genuine mental causation? I will suggest that the ontological interpretation of quantum theory provides us both with a view about the nature of causality in fundamental physics, as well as a view how genuine mental causation can be compatible with our fundamental (quantum) physical ontology. (shrink)
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  45. Folk Intuitions About the Causal Theory of Perception.Pendaran Roberts, Keith Allen & Kelly Schmidtke - 2016 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    It is widely held by philosophers not only that there is a causal condition on perception but also that the causal condition is a conceptual truth about perception. One influential line of argument for this claim is based on intuitive responses to a style of thought experiment popularized by Grice. Given the significance of these thought experiments to the literature, it is important to see whether the folk in fact respond to these cases in the way that philosophers (...)
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  46. Applying the Causal Theory of Reference to Intentional Concepts.John Michael & Miles MacLeod - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (2):212-230.
    We argue that many recent philosophical discussions about the reference of everyday concepts of intentional states have implicitly been predicated on descriptive theories of reference. To rectify this, we attempt to demonstrate how a causal theory can be applied to intentional concepts. Specifically, we argue that some phenomena in early social de- velopment ðe.g., mimicry, gaze following, and emotional contagionÞ can serve as refer- ence fixers that enable children to track others’ intentional states and, thus, to refer to (...)
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  47. Con-Reasons and the Causal Theory of Action.Jonathan D. Payton - 2015 - Philosophical Explorations 18 (1):20-33.
    A con-reason is a reason which plays a role in motivating and explaining an agent's behaviour, but which the agent takes to count against the course of action taken. Most accounts of motivating reasons in the philosophy of action do not allow such things to exist. In this essay, I pursue two aims. First, I argue that, whatever metaphysical story we tell about the relation between motivating reasons and action, con- reasons need to be acknowledged, as they play an explanatory (...)
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  48. Brains in a Vat, Subjectivity, and the Causal Theory of Reference.Kirk Ludwig - 1992 - Journal of Philosophical Research 17:313-345.
    This paper evaluates Putnam’s argument in the first chapter of Reason, Truth and History, for the claim that we can know that we are not brains in a vat (of a certain sort). A widespread response to Putnam’s argument has been that if it were successful not only the world but the meanings of our words (and consequently our thoughts) would be beyond the pale of knowledge, because a causal theory of reference is not compatible with our having (...)
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  49. Self-Movement and Natural Normativity: Keeping Agents in the Causal Theory of Action.Matthew McAdam - 2007 - Dissertation, Georgetown University
    Most contemporary philosophers of action accept Aristotle’s view that actions involve movements generated by an internal cause. This is reflected in the wide support enjoyed by the Causal Theory of Action (CTA), according to which actions are bodily movements caused by mental states. Some critics argue that CTA suffers from the Problem of Disappearing Agents (PDA), the complaint that CTA excludes agents because it reduces them to mere passive arenas in which certain events and processes take place. Extant (...)
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  50.  57
    Review of Arif Ahmed (Ed.), Newcomb's Problem. [REVIEW]Jack Spencer - 2019 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2019.
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