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Homework Help: Newcomb's Paradox/Problem

  1. Oct 17, 2009 #1
    So, I'm studying for a philosophy midterm, and here's my sample question...

    "Explain Lewis' reduction of the prisoner's dilemma to two Newcomb's problems. Is the reduction plausible as a solution to the prisoner's dilemma? Explain why it is or why it is not."

    Okay, so I think I do understand this paradox.

    The paradox is that conventional decision theory would predict that each player acts in the best possible way in response to the other player's choice (whatever that may be). Under this theory, one would choose both boxes in Newcomb's problem as to maximize their utility.

    But, Newcomb's problem shows that the player will in fact choose only one box if she knows that she will receive a greater sum. (The predictor knows what the chooser will choose and the chooser knows of this... etc.)

    What I don't understand and can't seem to find anywhere, is why or how Lewis reduces the Prisoner's Dilemma to two Newcomb problems.

    Binmore does not believe the Newcomb problem to be a plausible solution to the prisoner's dilemma because it fails to take into account that the predictor must predict the chooser's choice even if the chooser were to choose irrationally.

    I am still semi-confused about the whole matter.

    Any help would be Greatly appreciated,
    Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 18, 2009 #2
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