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The Journal of Philosophy

Volume 113, Issue 9, September 2016

William MacAskill
Pages 425-445
DOI: 10.5840/jphil2016113929

Smokers, Psychos, and Decision-Theoretic Uncertainty

In this paper I propose an approach to decision theory that I call metanormativism, where the key idea is that decision theory should take into account decision-theoretic uncertainty. I don’t attempt to argue in favor of this view, though I briefly offer some motivation for it. Instead, I argue that if the view is correct, it has important implications for the causal versus evidential decision-theory debate. First, it allows us to make rational sense of our seemingly divergent intuitions across the Smoking Lesion and The Psychopath Button cases. Second, it generates strong new arguments for preferring the causal approach to decision-theory over the evidential approach.