Risk Latte - Newcomb's Paradox

Quiz #3
Newcomb's Paradox

“Taken from Mark Rubenstein's web site www.in-the-money.com


And God said: "Lo, I have laid before you two boxes. The first is transparent and contains $1,000, and the second is opaque and either contains nothing or $1,000,000. You have two choices: one is to take both boxes and keep their contents and the other is to take only the second box. If I expect you to take the both boxes, I will have left the second box empty. If I expect you to take only the second box, I will have put $1,000,000 in it."

Which of the two choices should you make?


  Answer

You might argue that you had better only take the second box because, since God is never wrong in his expectations and since God never lies, that is the only way you can win the $1,000,000. On the other hand, you might equally well argue that your choice is not going to change the contents of the two boxes, so you might as well take both of them and get everything that is there.

This paradox points out a problem with determinism, in contrast to free will as a philosophical position. The determinist takes only the second box, while the believer in free will takes both.



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