Thursday, December 13, 2012

Newcomb’s Problem: The Age Old Dilemma

Philosophy is a subject filled with mysteries and logic. A subject that many students try to avoid throughout their careers, yet every now and again, a challenging problem arises in Philosophy, and this one of them.  This is Newcomb’s Problem.

The strange thing about Newcomb’s problem is that it leaves even the most learned of philosophers on two sides of the spectrum. No group can decide the logical choice, so naturally, I chose to share it with you dear readers to try and solve. Here is the problem:

You are on a game show and the host presents you with two boxes. One is see-through and one is not. In the see-through box, you can see $1000, and you are told that in the non-see-through box there is either $1,000,000 or nothing. You have two choices:

A)    You take only the non-see-through box.

B)   You take both boxes.

The choice is obvious, right? Choice B is clearly guarantees $1000 more than A, but then, the announcer says there’s a twist. A 99% accurate Newcomb’s Problem predictor has predicted what you would do today. If he predicted you would take choice A, he put $1,000,000 in the non-see-through box. If he predicted you would take choice B, he put nothing in it. Now it is not as easy, right?

This is why this has left a split down the philosophical community. Today, we will be putting this to the test. Fill in you answer in the poll below and if you want, put your reasoning in a comment below. Let’s see just how divided this question can be.

Which Choice Would You Take?
Stop My Head Is Exploding!!
Create your own poll

-The Anon Philosopher

Featured: Sorry guys, finals are approaching, so I haven't had much time to find someone to feature. Instead here's a link to a picture of a cat.

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  1. I chose "B". Regardless of what is predicted, & therefore regardless of what is or isn't in the non-see-through box, taking both boxes ensures I have the $1000 in the see-through box, plus whatever may or may not be in the non-see-through box. Assuming I read the question correctly. Which is a rough bet at best. Now I'm confused. I had everything straight for like three seconds, & then it all ka-sploded! :(

  2. Here's a picture of a cat! lol. Yea, I'd go for both boxes. Who wouldn't?

  3. some simple math solves this muh difficult problem in mere seconds



    so you take only the non see through chest since statistically this would give you more gain and 1000$ are peanuts either way