Newcomb's Paradox Analysis

1454 Words6 Pages
Without a doubt, the legacy of Newcomb’s paradox remains prevalent in the contemporary era. Essentially, the paradox brings to attention a striking conflict between two particular intuitions in regards to decision-making. Furthermore, it points out that what may appear to be the most rational choice could actually bring about a worse outcome than what may appear to be the irrational choice. Most importantly, the paradox incites a sense of ambiguity and raises questions about the degree of free will in the case of decision making. Throughout this essay, I will be detailing the paradox’s various components and analyzing it’s two unique approaches in order to ultimately argue that the choice to one-box yields more reward in the end. Before all…show more content…
The rule that encourages one-boxing is called the Rule of Expected Utility. This principle fundamentally expresses that it “it is always rational to pursue the course of action with the highest expected utility.” In order to effectively apply this rule to Newcomb’s problem, I will start off by evaluating the probabilities of the two potential amounts in Box B--$0 and $1,000,000. It is important to mention that while you may assume that the predictor is all-knowing, you have also witnessed his consistent accuracy with past individuals, when it came to predicting their choices. Put simply, you have seen that those who one-box walk away with more money than those who two-box. As a result of this evidence and experience, it is safe to assign these probabilities: 100% probability of $1,000,000 in Box B if you choose to one-box, 0% probability of 1,000,000 in Box B if you choose to two-box, 0% probability of $0 in Box B if you choose to one-box and 100% probability of $0 in Box B if you chose to two-box. When I compare the expected utilities between the two possible courses of action, one-boxing or two-boxing, it is clear to me that there exists a more convincing expected utility argument for the perspective of one-boxing. In the case of this principle, one boxing would provide you with $1,000,000, while two-boxing would provide you with only $1,000. Thus, if we attempt to solve this paradox on the basis of the Rule of Expected Utility, it is more rational to choose only Box
Open Document