Arntzenius on ‘Why ain’cha rich?’
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The best-known argument for Evidential Decision Theory (EDT) is the ‘Why ain’cha rich?’ challenge to rival Causal Decision Theory (CDT). The basis for this challenge is that in Newcomb-like situations, acts that conform to EDT may be known in advance to have the better return than acts that conform to CDT. Frank Arntzenius has recently proposed an ingenious counter argument, based on an example in which, he claims, it is predictable in advance that acts that conform to EDT will do less well than acts that conform to CDT. We raise two objections to Arntzenius’s example. We argue, first, that the example is subtly incoherent, in a way that undermines its effectiveness against EDT; and, second, that the example relies on calculating the average return over an inappropriate population of acts.
KeywordsAverage Return Total Evidence Causal Decision Theory Female Applicant Evidential Decision Theory
We are grateful to Frank Arntzenius and to two referees for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. AA wishes also to thank the Centre for Time, Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia where he did the research behind this paper, and the Leverhulme Trust, which was funding his leave at the time. HP is grateful to the Australian Research Council and the University of Sydney, for research support.
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