Simpson’s paradox and the Fisher-newcomb problem

Grazer Philosophische Studien 40 (1):185-194 (1991)


It is shown that the Fisher smoking problem and Newcomb's problem are decisiontheoretically identical, each having at its core an identical case of Simpson's paradox for certain probabilities. From this perspective, incorrect solutions to these problems arise from treating them as cases of decisionmaking under risk, while adopting certain global empirical conditional probabilities as the relevant subjective probabihties. The most natural correct solutions employ the methodology of decisionmaking under uncertainty with lottery acts, with certain local empirical conditional probabilities adopted as the relevant subjective probabilities

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