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Two-boxing is irrational

Noonan, Harold

Authors

HAROLD NOONAN harold.noonan@nottingham.ac.uk
Professor of Mind and Cognition



Abstract

Philosophers debate whether one-boxing or two-boxing is the rational act in a Newcomb situation. I shall argue that one-boxing is the only rational choice. This is so because there is no intelligible aim by reference to which you can justify the choice of two-boxing over one-boxing once you have come to think that you will two-box (whereas there is such an aim by reference to which you can justify one-boxing). The only aim by which the agent in the Newcomb situation can justify his two-boxing is the subjunctively described aim of ‘getting more than I would if I were to one-box’. But such a subjunctively described aim can justify an action only if it can be seen as generating, in conjunction with the agent’s beliefs, an indicatively describable aim which justifies the action. In the case of the Newcomb agent the aim of 'getting more than I would if I were to one-box’ cannot be seen in this way.

Journal Article Type Article
Journal Philosophia
Print ISSN 0048-3893
Electronic ISSN 1574-9274
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 43
Issue 2
APA6 Citation Noonan, H. (in press). Two-boxing is irrational. Philosophia, 43(2), https://doi.org/10.1007/s11406-015-9589-3
DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/s11406-015-9589-3
Keywords Newcomb, Two-boxing, Decision theory
Publisher URL http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11406-015-9589-3
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf
Additional Information The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11406-015-9589-3

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf





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