Re: decision theory papers

From: Wei Dai <>
Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2002 16:41:09 -0700

On Thu, Apr 18, 2002 at 04:15:48PM -0700, Brent Meeker wrote:
> I don't see this. You seem to be making a proof by contradiction - but I
> don't see that it works. There is no contradiction is assuming that there
> is an algorithm that correctly predicts your decision and then you make
> that decision. You only arrive at an apparent contradiction because you
> suppose the there is some left out part, "the rest of your brain", that
> was not taken into account by the algorithm. This is what I meant by
> incoherent. All that really follows is that *if* there were such an
> algorithm you would necessarily do what it predicted. If the universe is
> deterministic and computable, such an algorithm must exist. The only
> conclusion I see is that if you executed this algorithm you would
> loose the feeling of free will (of course you would have predicted this).

I think I stated the idea badly before. Let me state it differently: there
is no algorithm which given the mathematical description of any universe
and the location of an intelligent being in it, always predicts his
decision correctly. Suppose this algorithm exists, then we can construct
(the mathematical description of) a universe where someone runs the
algorithm on himself and then does the opposite of what it predicts, which
is a contradiction.
Received on Thu Apr 18 2002 - 16:42:39 PDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Feb 16 2018 - 13:20:07 PST