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Causal Decision Theory and the Fixity of the Past

Causal decision theory (CDT) cares only about the effects of a contemplated act, not its causes. The article constructs a case in which CDT consequently recommends a bet that the agent is certain to lose, rather than a bet that she is certain to win. CDT is plainly giving wrong advice in this case. It therefore stands refuted.

1The Argument

2The Argument in More Detail

  2.1The betting mechanism

  2.2Soft determinism

  2.3The content of P

  2.4The argument again

3The Descriptive Premise

  3.1Causal decision theory

  3.2Causal decision theory prefers A1

4The Normative Premise


  5.1Table 1 and Table 2 are misleading

  5.2The agency theory of causation

  5.3The payment mechanism

  5.4Newcomb’s problem

  5.5Against the normative premise

  5.6Drop soft determinism