Prisoners' Dilemma is a Newcomb Problem
Lewis (David)
Source: Lewis - Philosophical Papers Volume II, Part 7: Dependence and Decision, Chapter 26
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. Several authors have observed that Prisoners' Dilemma and Newcomb's Problem are related – for instance, in that both involve controversial appeals to dominance.
  2. But to call them "related" is an under- statement. Considered as puzzles about rationality, or disagreements between two conceptions thereof, they are one and the same problem.
  3. Prisoners' Dilemma is a Newcomb Problem – or rather, two Newcomb Problems side by side, one per prisoner. Only the inessential trappings are different. Let us make them the same.

Author’s Conclusion
  1. Some have fended off the lessons of Newcomb's Problem by saying: "Let us not have, or let us not rely on, any intuitions about what is rational in goofball cases so unlike the decision problems of real life."
  2. But Prisoners' Dilemmas are deplorably common in real life. They are the most down-to-earth versions of Newcomb's Problem now available.


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