What is Newcomb’s paradox?
In philosophy and mathematics, Newcomb’s paradox i.e. the irony or paradox of Newcomb, also known as Newcomb’s problem, is a thinking experiment between two players, played as a game, one of which Aims to be able to predict the future.
History of Newcomb’s Paradox –
The paradox of Newcomb was created by William Newcomb of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory of the University of California. It was first analyzed in 1969 and published in a philosophy paper spread by Robert Nozick to the philosophical community. It appeared in Martin Gardner’s “Mathematical Games” in the March 1973 issue of Scientific American. In today’s modern era, this decision is a much-publicized problem in the philosophical branch of theory.
Its relation to consciousness
Newcomb’s irony can also be related to the question of machine consciousness, especially if a correct simulation of a person’s brain will produce that person’s consciousness. Suppose we take the prophet to be a machine that stimulates the brain of the selector to arrive at its prediction when faced with which box problem. If that simulation generates the consciousness of the selector, the selector cannot tell whether they are standing in front of the boxes in the real world or the virtual world generated by the simulation in the past. The “virtual” selector will thus tell the predictor which option the “real” selector is going to make.
Its relation to fatalism
Newcomb’s paradox – Newcomb’s irony relates to logical fatalism or determinism in that they both assume absolute certainty of the future. In logical determinism, this notion of certainty produces circular reasoning (“A future event is certain, so it is sure to happen”), while Newcomb’s paradox assumes whether its game participants are capable of influencing the predetermined outcome.
- Levi, Isaac (1982). “A Note on Newcombmania”. Journal of Philosophy. 79 (6): 337–42. DOI:10.2307/2026081. JSTOR 2026081. (A paper that discusses the popularity of Newcomb’s problem)
- Collins, John. “Newcomb’s Problem”, International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, Neil Smelser and Paul Baltes (eds), Elsevier Science (2001)
This Article was Published On: 30 August, 2019 And Last Modified On: 9 May, 2022
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