Abstract

I apply some of the lessons from quantum theory, in particular from Bell’s theorem, to a debate on the foundations of decision theory and causation. By tracing a formal analogy between the basic assumptions of causal decision theory (CDT)—which was developed partly in response to Newcomb’s problem— and those of a local hidden variable theory in the context of quantum mechanics, I show that an agent who acts according to CDT and gives any nonzero credence to some possible causal interpretations underlying quantum phenomena should bet against quantum mechanics in some feasible game scenarios involving entangled systems, no matter what evidence they acquire. As a consequence, either the most accepted version of decision theory is wrong, or it provides a practical distinction, in terms of the prescribed behaviour of rational agents, between some metaphysical hypotheses regarding the causal structure underlying quantum mechanics.

  1. Introduction

  2. Newcomb’s Probleme

  3. Causal Decision Theory

    • 3.1 Regions of causal influence

    • 3.2 Evidential and effective probabilities

  4. The parallel with Bell’s theorem

    • 4.1 Consequences of the analogy

    • 4.1.1 The marble boxes game

    • 4.1.2 Mechanism underlying the marble boxes game

    • 4.1.3 The causalist’s decision

    • 4.1.4 The Bell game

  5. Communicated versus Non-communicated Predictions

  6. Summary and Conclusion

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