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Thinking about ActingLogical Foundations for Rational Decision Making$
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John L. Pollock

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195304817

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195304817.001.0001

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Causal Probabilities

Causal Probabilities

Chapter:
(p.117) 8 Causal Probabilities
Source:
Thinking about Acting
Author(s):

John L. Pollock

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195304817.003.0008

This chapter discusses the familiar difficulties originating from Newcomb's problem. Those problems gave rise to “causal decision theory”, which differs from classical decision theory in the manner in which probabilities enter into the definition of expected value. This chapter proposes that one can replace the appeal to causal dependence by appeal to temporal relations and statistical relevance between mixed physical/epistemic probabilities. The basic idea is simply that causes propagate through the world in temporal order. The resulting analysis handles the known counterexamples to classical decision theory in essentially the same way Skymis' theory does, but without appealing to vaguely understood concepts like causal dependence.

Keywords:   causal decision theory, causal dependence, Skymis, temporal relations, statistical relevance, Newcomb

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