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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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Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1055.

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Date of creation: Jul 1993
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Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1055
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  1. R. Aumann, 2010. "Correlated Equilibrium as an expression of Bayesian Rationality," Levine's Bibliography 513, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1988. "Information dependent games : Can common sense be common knowledge?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 215-221.
  3. Werlang, Sérgio Ribeiro da Costa, 1988. "Common knowledge," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 118, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  4. Peleg, Bezalel & Yaari, Menahem E, 1973. "On the Existence of a Consistent Course of Action when Tastes are Changing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 391-401, July.
  5. Georg Nöldeke & Eric van Damme, 1990. "Switching Away From Probability One Beliefs," Discussion Paper Serie A 304, University of Bonn, Germany.
  6. Hammond, Peter J, 1976. "Changing Tastes and Coherent Dynamic Choice," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1), pages 159-73, February.
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