Re: Superrationality

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Thu May 25 2006 - 11:59:50 MDT


I'll be offline for the rest of the day, but I'll write up something
clear on my very simple decision theory approach to superrationality,
tomorrow or over the weekend, and post it for criticism ;-)

It deals simply with Newcomb's Paradox [taking the one box] but I did
not think about Solomon's Problem, in fact I am not sure what this
problem is (I assume it is related to King Solomon and the
baby-halving threat, but if you could point to a webpage giving a
crisp formulation of the problem I'd appreciate it).

-- Ben

On 5/25/06, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky <> wrote:
> 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
> Problem?
> --
> Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
> Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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