Re: Decision theory

From: Wei Dai <>
Date: Fri, 1 Jan 1999 19:17:59 -0800

On Fri, Jan 01, 1999 at 09:41:38PM -0500, Jacques M Mallah wrote:
> I think you're getting too abstract. How would the problem arise
> in a practical situation? I have a decision to make, and I can calculate
> the consequences of each possibility. It is true that I know that
> overall, me-like beings choose option A 99% of the time, and option B 1%
> of the time. But suppose my utility function is proportional to the
> fraction of times A is chosen.

The reason I'm being abstract is that this is an abstract issue. I mean on
a really practical level I have no trouble deciding to eat dinner now or
whatever. I agree with many of the points you made, but the fact remains
that we still have no formal decision theory that is compatible with a
physical theory with no free parameters. There are many possible
approaches to try to solve this problem, and I hope you agree now that
there is really a problem to be solved. The impossibility of self-modeling
is one possible approach, but I'm not sure how to formalize it in
the context of a decision theory either.

Why do you not believe in a theory with no free parameters?
(And what do you mean by "not believe in"? You don't think such a
theory can be self-consistent, or you don't believe such a theory can
be true?) What about the theory I proposed?
Received on Fri Jan 01 1999 - 19:20:02 PST

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