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The Journal of Philosophy

Volume 117, Issue 3, March 2020

J. Dmitri Gallow
Pages 117-149

The Causal Decision Theorist's Guide to Managing the News

According to orthodox causal decision theory, performing an action can give you information about factors outside of your control, but you should not take this information into account when deciding what to do. Causal decision theorists caution against an irrational policy of "managing the news." But, by providing information about factors outside of your control, performing an act can give you two, importantly different, kinds of news. It can tell you that the world in which you find yourself is good, and it can tell you that the act itself is in a position to make the world better. While the first kind of news does not speak in favor of performing an act, I believe that the second kind of news does. I present a revision of causal decision theory which advises you to manage the news about the good you stand to promote, while ignoring news about the good the world has provided for you.

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