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Caspar Oesterheld
Duke University
  1. The Evidentialist's Wager.William MacAskill, Aron Vallinder, Caspar Oesterheld, Carl Shulman & Johannes Treutlein - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy 118 (6):320-342.
    Suppose that an altruistic agent who is uncertain between evidential and causal decision theory finds herself in a situation where these theories give conflicting verdicts. We argue that even if she has significantly higher credence in CDT, she should nevertheless act in accordance with EDT. First, we claim that the appropriate response to normative uncertainty is to hedge one's bets. That is, if the stakes are much higher on one theory than another, and the credences you assign to each of (...)
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    Extracting Money From Causal Decision Theorists.Caspar Oesterheld & Vincent Conitzer - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 71 (4):pqaa086.
    Newcomb’s problem has spawned a debate about which variant of expected utility maximisation should guide rational choice. In this paper, we provide a new argument against what is probably the most popular variant: causal decision theory. In particular, we provide two scenarios in which CDT voluntarily loses money. In the first, an agent faces a single choice and following CDT’s recommendation yields a loss of money in expectation. The second scenario extends the first to a diachronic Dutch book against CDT.
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    Formalizing Preference Utilitarianism in Physical World Models.Caspar Oesterheld - 2016 - Synthese 193 (9).
    Most ethical work is done at a low level of formality. This makes practical moral questions inaccessible to formal and natural sciences and can lead to misunderstandings in ethical discussion. In this paper, we use Bayesian inference to introduce a formalization of preference utilitarianism in physical world models, specifically cellular automata. Even though our formalization is not immediately applicable, it is a first step in providing ethics and ultimately the question of how to “make the world better” with a formal (...)
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    Approval-Directed Agency and the Decision Theory of Newcomb-Like Problems.Caspar Oesterheld - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 27):6491-6504.
    Decision theorists disagree about how instrumentally rational agents, i.e., agents trying to achieve some goal, should behave in so-called Newcomb-like problems, with the main contenders being causal and evidential decision theory. Since the main goal of artificial intelligence research is to create machines that make instrumentally rational decisions, the disagreement pertains to this field. In addition to the more philosophical question of what the right decision theory is, the goal of AI poses the question of how to implement any given (...)
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    Robust Program Equilibrium.Caspar Oesterheld - 2019 - Theory and Decision 86 (1):143-159.
    One approach to achieving cooperation in the one-shot prisoner’s dilemma is Tennenholtz’s (Games Econ Behav 49(2):363–373, 2004) program equilibrium, in which the players of a game submit programs instead of strategies. These programs are then allowed to read each other’s source code to decide which action to take. As shown by Tennenholtz, cooperation is played in an equilibrium of this alternative game. In particular, he proposes that the two players submit the same version of the following program: cooperate if the (...)
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