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Aron Vallinder (Forethought Foundation, Oxford): “The Evidentialist’s Wager”

7 October, 4:30 pm6:00 pm

This event will take place online via Zoom. 

Everyone is welcome to join using a computer with access to the internet and Zoom. To take part just follow these instructions:

Please note that these events are routinely recorded, with the edited footage being made publicly available on our website and YouTube channel. We will only record the audio, the slides and the speaker and will not include the Q&A section. However, any question asked during the talk itself will feature in the final edit.

Abstract: Suppose that an altruistic and morally motivated agent who is uncertain between evidential decision theory (EDT) and causal decision theory (CDT) finds herself in a situation in which the two theories give conflicting verdicts. We argue that even if she has significantly higher credence in CDT, she should nevertheless act in accordance with EDT. First, we claim that that the appropriate response to normative uncertainty is to hedge one’s bets. That is, if the stakes are much higher on one theory than another, and the credences you assign to each of these theories aren’t very different, then it’s appropriate to choose the option which performs best on the high-stakes theory. Second, we show that, given the assumption of altruism, the existence of correlated decision-makers will increase the stakes for EDT but leave the stakes for CDT unaffected. Together these two claims imply that whenever there are sufficiently many correlated agents, the appropriate response is to act in accordance with EDT.

Aron Vallinder is a research fellow at the Forethought Foundation in Oxford. Most of his research concerns ethical and empirical issues around the long-term future.


7 October
4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Event Category:




Online via Zoom