The Rational Aren’t Rich


Segal JB. The Rational Aren’t Rich. Intuitions. 2011;8 :45-49.
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This paper presents a variation of Newcomb’s problem to bring out how, faced with a Newcomb problem, a causal decision theorist will undertake an action with the best possible payout (given their circumstances) while an evidential decision theorist will be presented with better options and will make—arguably—a less rational decision. This shows how the Newcomb problem is one in which a rational agent will simply not be presented with the options that can lead to the best possible outcome. The prominent protestation, “if you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?” should be set aside as an objection to causal decision theory. 

Last updated on 03/05/2016