Re: Superrationality

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Thu May 25 2006 - 11:36:26 MDT

Ben Goertzel wrote:
> Relatedly, I just asked Douglas Hofstadter if he knew of any formal
> work on superrationality, and he pointed out the book
> ***
> "Paradoxes of Rationality and Cooperation:
> Prisoner's Dilemma and Newcomb's Problem", edited by Richmond
> Campbell and Lanning Sowden (University of British Columbia Press,
> 1985)
> ***
> but said he wasn't sure if there was anything fitting the bill in
> there or not.... I'll check it out and see.

_Paradoxes of Rationality and Cooperation_ is polarized around two
angles of attack, "causal decision theory" and "evidential decision
theory", with causal decision theory currently seeming to have the upper
hand in academia. According to my own analysis, both theories are
wrong, but CDT is nearer right. CDT defects in the Prisoner's Dilemma
and two-boxes on Newcomb's Problem. EDT permits cooperation and
one-boxes on Newcomb's Problem, but exhibits absurd behavior on other
problems such as Solomon's Problem. Mainly the book is good for seeing
some of the dilemmas that a decision theory needs to confront.

What does your decision theory do in Newcomb's Problem and Solomon's

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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