A General Counterexample to Any Decision Theory and Some Responses

1 Jan 2021  ·  Joar Skalse ·

In this paper I present an argument and a general schema which can be used to construct a problem case for any decision theory, in a way that could be taken to show that one cannot formulate a decision theory that is never outperformed by any other decision theory. I also present and discuss a number of possible responses to this argument. One of these responses raises the question of what it means for two decision problems to be "equivalent" in the relevant sense, and gives an answer to this question which would invalidate the first argument. However, this position would have further consequences for how we compare different decision theories in decision problems already discussed in the literature (including e.g. Newcomb's problem).

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