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Can Free Choice Be Known?


  • Itzhak Gilboa


In this note we reconsider an argument, borrowed from causal decision theory, according to which rational and identical players should cooperate in a one-shot prisoner's dilemma. We argue that, regardless of how one views this type of reasoning, the example rpoints at a possible inconsistency in standard formulations of knowledge and decision. We suggest that when formalizing notions of "decision," "choice," and "rationality," care must be taken not to assume knowledge of one's own choice. Finally, the relationships to the classical problems of causal decision theory and of dterminism versus free will are briefly discussed.

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  • Itzhak Gilboa, 1993. "Can Free Choice Be Known?," Discussion Papers 1055, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1055

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bezalel Peleg & Menahem E. Yaari, 1973. "On the Existence of a Consistent Course of Action when Tastes are Changing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(3), pages 391-401.
    2. Aumann, Robert J, 1987. "Correlated Equilibrium as an Expression of Bayesian Rationality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 1-18, January.
    3. Georg Nöldeke & Eric van Damme, 1990. "Switching Away From Probability One Beliefs," Discussion Paper Serie A 304, University of Bonn, Germany.
    4. Ben-Porath, E., 1992. "Rationality, Nash Equilibrium and Backward Induction in Perfect Information Games," Papers 14-92, Tel Aviv - the Sackler Institute of Economic Studies.
    5. Werlang, Sérgio Ribeiro da Costa, 1988. "Common knowledge," FGV/EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 118, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    6. Peter J. Hammond, 1976. "Changing Tastes and Coherent Dynamic Choice," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(1), pages 159-173.
    7. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1988. "Information dependent games : Can common sense be common knowledge?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 215-221.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bonanno, Giacomo, 2013. "A dynamic epistemic characterization of backward induction without counterfactuals," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 31-43.
    2. Gilboa, Itzhak, 1997. "A Comment on the Absent-Minded Driver Paradox," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 25-30, July.

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