handout_-_Newcomb_s_puzzle_v01 - Newcomb's puzzle John...

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Newcomb's puzzle John Turri 1. A game An eccentric billionaire (‘Billionaire’) asks you to play a strange game. You agree. Here’s the setup. You sit down in a nondescript room at a table with two boxes on it. One box is transparent (‘Clear Box’) and the other opaque (‘Black Box’). You may select exactly one of two options: either take the contents of both Black Box and Clear Box, or take the con- tents of only Black Box. To select the first option is to two-box ; to select the second is to one-box . Clear Box contains $1,000 and this you know for certain be- cause you see it. (Billionaire will let you closely inspect it to con- firm this, if you like). You cannot see what’s in Black Box and you don’t know what’s in it. But you are given the following exhaustive information about what determines Black Box’s contents. Before Billionaire yesterday asked you to play, and before you had ever heard of this strange game, a nearly infallible predictor (‘Predictor’) predicted whether you would two-box or one-box. If
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This note was uploaded on 07/11/2011 for the course PHIL 100 taught by Professor Something during the Fall '10 term at Waterloo.

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