# Two boxes, one transparent and visibly containing $1,000 (A), and one opaque (B) are placed before an agent X at time t. The contents of A are supposed fixed, the contents of B known by the agent to have been determined by the prior action of a highly accurate Predictor that has placed $1,000,000 in box B if it predicted that X will select only box B and has placed nothing in box B if it predicted that X will select both boxes.

This is a question about “Newcomb’s Problem”.

Two boxes, one transparent and visibly containing $1,000 (A), and one opaque (B) are placed before an agent X at time t. The contents of A are supposed fixed, the contents of B known by the agent to have been determined by the prior action of a highly accurate Predictor that has placed $1,000,000 in box B if it predicted that X will select only box B and has placed nothing in box B if it predicted that X will select __both__ boxes.

A)Assume (for the sake of argument) a universal acceptance of the in fact completely discredited hypothesis that the strong statistical correlation between smoking and a host of serious diseases including lung cancer is accounted for by a genetic factor that is the common cause of both. In your view, can someone who believes that these statistics should not in themselves present a deterrent to smoking reconcile this view with an advocacy of the “one-box” solution to Newcomb’s Problem?

B)Suppose that the back of box B is transparent, and that a completely trustworthy and reliable friend of X is able to see whether $1,000,000 is in box B. Assume that the Predictor can predict what if anything the friend will say and what X will hear, and that it has factored this into its prior analysis and decision. If the friend were able to communicate with X, does it matter whether i)the friend simply __recommends__ a selection (“Take both boxes!”) or ii)reveals the actual contents of box B to X (e.g., “Box B is empty”)? Why or why not? If the friend were able to announce out loud the contents of box B, would it be advantageous for X to place himself in a situation in which he is unable to make out what his friend says? Explain.

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