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NSKrlsnYou are standing outside of a locked room with a wizard. The wizard tells you that there are two boxes inside of the room. Box A is transparent and box B is opaque. He says you can take either the contents of box B or the contents of box A and box B. Before you act, the wizard will try to guess your decision. If he thinks you will take only box B, he will put a million dollars inside of box B. If he thinks you will take both boxes, he will put nothing in box B. There will always be one thousand dollars in box A. Additionally, you know that the wizard is 99.9% accurate in his predictions. The wizard fixes the contents of the boxes accordingly before you enter the room. Then, he unlocks the door and allows you to make your decision. What do you do? Take only box B or both box A and box B?
TRVP_ANGELBoth boxes if you know how math works, Box B if this is real life and you're not a fucking idiot.
NSKrlsnBut it's not like the contents of the boxes can change once you're in the room, so why not take both? Granted, I would just take box B too. But I'm interested in what you would say about this.
TRVP_ANGELI'm gonna go on a limb and say this is a riddle from a statistics book and I hope i'm not getting bamboozled into doing your homework for you. Taking both boxes has an expected win of a million dollars while taking only box B has only 999,000 dollars.
NSKrlsnYea, I'm just a philosophy major that has no life. This comes from a subfield called decision theory. You're right except it depends on what formalism you use. Causal decision theorists take into account the state of the world in their expected utility calculation, and so they end up two boxing. Evidential decision theorists take into account your decision (as evidence), and so they end up one boxing. There's still debate about which (if either) theory is right. If you're interested in reading more it's called Newcomb's problem.