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De­ci­sion Theory

De­ci­sion the­ory is the study of prin­ci­ples and al­gorithms for mak­ing cor­rect de­ci­sions—that is, de­ci­sions that al­low an agent to achieve bet­ter out­comes with re­spect to its goals [1].

See also: Game The­ory, Ro­bust Agents, Utility Functions

The best known de­ci­sion the­o­ries are Causal De­ci­sion The­ory (CDT) and Ev­i­den­tial De­ci­sion The­ory (EDT). On LessWrong, an al­ter­na­tive fam­ily of de­ci­sion the­o­ries has been dis­cussed heav­ily with the vary­ing names of Up­date­less De­ci­sion The­ory (UDT), Time­less De­ci­sion The­ory (TDT), and Func­tional De­ci­sion The­ory (FDT).

De­ci­sion Theory

31 Oct 2018 18:41 UTC
101 points
37 comments1 min readLW link

Chris­ti­ano de­ci­sion the­ory excerpt

Rob Bensinger
29 Sep 2019 2:55 UTC
58 points
0 comments5 min readLW link

Func­tional De­ci­sion The­ory: A New The­ory of In­stru­men­tal Rationality

ESRogs
20 Oct 2017 8:09 UTC
36 points
1 comment1 min readLW link
(arxiv.org)

Dutch-Book­ing CDT: Re­vised Argument

abramdemski
11 Jun 2020 23:34 UTC
45 points
6 comments16 min readLW link
(NIL)

An Ortho­dox Case Against Utility Functions

abramdemski
7 Apr 2020 19:18 UTC
116 points
49 comments8 min readLW link

De­ci­sion The­o­ries: A Less Wrong Primer

orthonormal
13 Mar 2012 23:31 UTC
73 points
174 comments9 min readLW link

De­ci­sion The­ory FAQ

lukeprog
28 Feb 2013 14:15 UTC
73 points
482 comments58 min readLW link

Co­her­ent de­ci­sions im­ply con­sis­tent utilities

Eliezer Yudkowsky
12 May 2019 21:33 UTC
122 points
56 comments26 min readLW link

Co­her­ence ar­gu­ments do not im­ply goal-di­rected behavior

rohinmshah
3 Dec 2018 3:26 UTC
79 points
62 comments7 min readLW link2 nominations3 reviews

Towards a New De­ci­sion Theory

Wei_Dai
13 Aug 2009 5:31 UTC
59 points
145 comments6 min readLW link

A Cri­tique of Func­tional De­ci­sion Theory

wdmacaskill
13 Sep 2019 19:23 UTC
98 points
47 comments20 min readLW link

De­ci­sion the­ory and zero-sum game the­ory, NP and PSPACE

jessicata
24 May 2018 8:03 UTC
111 points
20 comments4 min readLW link

Embed­ded Agency (full-text ver­sion)

15 Nov 2018 19:49 UTC
103 points
7 comments43 min readLW link

Ro­bust Co­op­er­a­tion in the Pri­soner’s Dilemma

orthonormal
7 Jun 2013 8:30 UTC
73 points
146 comments7 min readLW link

Coun­ter­fac­tual Mug­ging Poker Game

Scott Garrabrant
13 Jun 2018 23:34 UTC
79 points
2 comments1 min readLW link

New­comb’s Prob­lem and Re­gret of Rationality

Eliezer Yudkowsky
31 Jan 2008 19:36 UTC
88 points
605 comments10 min readLW link

What does it mean to ap­ply de­ci­sion the­ory?

abramdemski
8 Jul 2020 20:31 UTC
40 points
5 comments8 min readLW link

Troll Bridge

abramdemski
23 Aug 2019 18:36 UTC
73 points
36 comments12 min readLW link

5 Ax­ioms of De­ci­sion Making

Vaniver
1 Dec 2011 22:22 UTC
35 points
61 comments5 min readLW link

De­ci­sion the­ory: An out­line of some up­com­ing posts

AnnaSalamon
25 Aug 2009 7:34 UTC
30 points
31 comments6 min readLW link

Con­fu­sion about New­comb is con­fu­sion about counterfactuals

AnnaSalamon
25 Aug 2009 20:01 UTC
45 points
42 comments2 min readLW link

De­ci­sion the­ory: Why we need to re­duce “could”, “would”, “should”

AnnaSalamon
2 Sep 2009 9:23 UTC
26 points
48 comments4 min readLW link

De­ci­sion the­ory: Why Pearl helps re­duce “could” and “would”, but still leaves us with at least three alternatives

AnnaSalamon
6 Sep 2009 6:10 UTC
41 points
72 comments5 min readLW link

De­ci­sion The­o­ries: A Semi-For­mal Anal­y­sis, Part I

orthonormal
24 Mar 2012 16:01 UTC
24 points
90 comments7 min readLW link

De­ci­sion The­o­ries: A Semi-For­mal Anal­y­sis, Part II

orthonormal
6 Apr 2012 18:59 UTC
16 points
27 comments7 min readLW link

De­ci­sion The­o­ries: A Semi-For­mal Anal­y­sis, Part III

orthonormal
14 Apr 2012 19:34 UTC
23 points
54 comments9 min readLW link

De­ci­sion The­o­ries, Part 3.5: Halt, Melt and Catch Fire

orthonormal
26 Aug 2012 22:40 UTC
31 points
35 comments5 min readLW link

De­ci­sion The­o­ries, Part 3.75: Hang On, I Think This Works After All

orthonormal
6 Sep 2012 16:23 UTC
23 points
45 comments6 min readLW link

CDT=EDT=UDT

abramdemski
13 Jan 2019 23:46 UTC
42 points
16 comments12 min readLW link

Con­cep­tual Prob­lems with UDT and Policy Selection

abramdemski
28 Jun 2019 23:50 UTC
52 points
16 comments9 min readLW link

On the pur­poses of de­ci­sion the­ory research

Wei_Dai
25 Jul 2019 7:18 UTC
66 points
14 comments2 min readLW link

Two More De­ci­sion The­ory Prob­lems for Humans

Wei_Dai
4 Jan 2019 9:00 UTC
59 points
13 comments2 min readLW link

Com­mon mis­takes peo­ple make when think­ing about de­ci­sion theory

cousin_it
27 Mar 2012 20:03 UTC
54 points
27 comments2 min readLW link

In­gre­di­ents of Time­less De­ci­sion Theory

Eliezer Yudkowsky
19 Aug 2009 1:10 UTC
49 points
226 comments7 min readLW link

What is Wei Dai’s Up­date­less De­ci­sion The­ory?

AlephNeil
19 May 2010 10:16 UTC
45 points
66 comments7 min readLW link

Time­less De­ci­sion The­ory: Prob­lems I Can’t Solve

Eliezer Yudkowsky
20 Jul 2009 0:02 UTC
46 points
156 comments6 min readLW link

Com­ment on de­ci­sion theory

Rob Bensinger
9 Sep 2018 20:13 UTC
73 points
17 comments2 min readLW link

An in­tro­duc­tion to de­ci­sion theory

[deleted]
13 Aug 2010 9:09 UTC
18 points
29 comments6 min readLW link

New­comb’s Prob­lem: A prob­lem for Causal De­ci­sion Theories

[deleted]
16 Aug 2010 11:25 UTC
8 points
121 comments4 min readLW link

For­mal­iz­ing New­comb’s

cousin_it
5 Apr 2009 15:39 UTC
20 points
117 comments1 min readLW link

A mechanis­tic model of meditation

Kaj_Sotala
6 Nov 2019 21:37 UTC
109 points
8 comments21 min readLW link

Pre­dic­tors ex­ist: CDT go­ing bonkers… forever

Stuart_Armstrong
14 Jan 2020 16:19 UTC
42 points
29 comments1 min readLW link

ACDT: a hack-y acausal de­ci­sion theory

Stuart_Armstrong
15 Jan 2020 17:22 UTC
48 points
16 comments7 min readLW link

Refer­ence Post: Triv­ial De­ci­sion Problem

Chris_Leong
15 Feb 2020 17:13 UTC
17 points
4 comments2 min readLW link

What makes coun­ter­fac­tu­als com­pa­rable?

Chris_Leong
24 Apr 2020 22:47 UTC
11 points
6 comments3 min readLW link

For­mal Open Prob­lem in De­ci­sion Theory

Scott Garrabrant
29 Nov 2018 3:25 UTC
32 points
11 comments4 min readLW link

The Ubiquitous Con­verse Law­vere Problem

Scott Garrabrant
29 Nov 2018 3:16 UTC
20 points
0 comments2 min readLW link

(A → B) → A

Scott Garrabrant
11 Sep 2018 22:38 UTC
46 points
10 comments2 min readLW link

Pri­son­ers’ Dilemma with Costs to Modeling

Scott Garrabrant
5 Jun 2018 4:51 UTC
173 points
20 comments7 min readLW link

New­comblike prob­lems are the norm

So8res
24 Sep 2014 18:41 UTC
53 points
111 comments7 min readLW link

Model­ing nat­u­ral­ized de­ci­sion prob­lems in lin­ear logic

jessicata
6 May 2020 0:15 UTC
15 points
2 comments6 min readLW link
(unstableontology.com)

[Question] What is the sub­jec­tive ex­pe­rience of free will for agents?

G Gordon Worley III
2 Apr 2020 15:53 UTC
10 points
19 comments1 min readLW link

Prob­a­bil­ities Small Enough To Ig­nore: An at­tack on Pas­cal’s Mugging

Kaj_Sotala
16 Sep 2015 10:45 UTC
20 points
176 comments5 min readLW link

UDT can learn an­thropic probabilities

cousin_it
24 Jun 2018 18:04 UTC
65 points
10 comments3 min readLW link

Solve Psy-Kosh’s non-an­thropic problem

cousin_it
20 Dec 2010 21:24 UTC
44 points
116 comments1 min readLW link

De­ci­sion The­ory Para­dox: PD with Three Im­plies Chaos?

orthonormal
27 Aug 2011 19:22 UTC
19 points
56 comments4 min readLW link

Con­se­quen­tial­ism Need Not Be Nearsighted

orthonormal
2 Sep 2011 7:37 UTC
55 points
118 comments5 min readLW link

De­ci­sion The­ory Para­dox: An­swer Key

orthonormal
5 Sep 2011 23:13 UTC
6 points
10 comments3 min readLW link

Sec­tion 7: Foun­da­tions of Ra­tional Agency

JesseClifton
22 Dec 2019 2:05 UTC
16 points
3 comments8 min readLW link

De­ci­sions are not about chang­ing the world, they are about learn­ing what world you live in

shminux
28 Jul 2018 8:41 UTC
36 points
69 comments11 min readLW link

Com­ment on Co­her­ence ar­gu­ments do not im­ply goal di­rected behavior

Brangus
6 Dec 2019 9:30 UTC
24 points
8 comments5 min readLW link

Dutch-Book­ing CDT

abramdemski
13 Jan 2019 0:10 UTC
27 points
6 comments2 min readLW link

[Question] When is CDT Dutch-Book­able?

abramdemski
13 Jan 2019 18:54 UTC
25 points
2 comments1 min readLW link

How to Mea­sure Anything

lukeprog
7 Aug 2013 4:05 UTC
71 points
51 comments22 min readLW link

Refer­ences & Re­sources for LessWrong

XiXiDu
10 Oct 2010 14:54 UTC
123 points
106 comments20 min readLW link

How I Lost 100 Pounds Us­ing TDT

Zvi
14 Mar 2011 15:50 UTC
99 points
242 comments4 min readLW link

Mul­ti­verse-wide Co­op­er­a­tion via Cor­re­lated De­ci­sion Making

Kaj_Sotala
20 Aug 2017 12:01 UTC
4 points
2 comments1 min readLW link
(foundational-research.org)

Bounded ver­sions of Gödel’s and Löb’s theorems

cousin_it
27 Jun 2012 18:28 UTC
32 points
22 comments2 min readLW link

Com­press­ing Real­ity to Math

Vaniver
15 Dec 2011 0:07 UTC
20 points
7 comments8 min readLW link

Mea­sures, Risk, Death, and War

Vaniver
20 Dec 2011 23:37 UTC
11 points
14 comments8 min readLW link

The Joys of Con­ju­gate Priors

TCB
21 May 2011 2:41 UTC
43 points
24 comments5 min readLW link

Prob­a­bil­ity, knowl­edge, and meta-probability

David_Chapman
17 Sep 2013 0:02 UTC
39 points
73 comments5 min readLW link

“Don’t even think about hell”

emmab
2 May 2020 8:06 UTC
6 points
2 comments1 min readLW link

Mo­ral­ity vs re­lated concepts

MichaelA
7 Jan 2020 10:47 UTC
28 points
17 comments8 min readLW link

Mo­ral un­cer­tainty vs re­lated concepts

MichaelA
11 Jan 2020 10:03 UTC
27 points
13 comments16 min readLW link

Mak­ing de­ci­sions when both morally and em­piri­cally uncertain

MichaelA
2 Jan 2020 7:20 UTC
14 points
14 comments20 min readLW link

Mak­ing de­ci­sions un­der moral uncertainty

MichaelA
30 Dec 2019 1:49 UTC
18 points
26 comments17 min readLW link

Mo­ral un­cer­tainty: What kind of ‘should’ is in­volved?

MichaelA
13 Jan 2020 12:13 UTC
16 points
11 comments13 min readLW link

Dis­solv­ing Con­fu­sion around Func­tional De­ci­sion Theory

scasper
5 Jan 2020 6:38 UTC
22 points
12 comments9 min readLW link

[Question] 3-P Group op­ti­mal for dis­cus­sion?

AiresJL
13 Jul 2020 22:23 UTC
3 points
0 comments1 min readLW link

Coun­ter­fac­tual Re­pro­gram­ming De­ci­sion Theory

lukeprog
10 Sep 2012 1:35 UTC
11 points
8 comments1 min readLW link

The cor­rect re­sponse to un­cer­tainty is *not* half-speed

AnnaSalamon
15 Jan 2016 22:55 UTC
107 points
43 comments3 min readLW link

Beyond Astro­nom­i­cal Waste

Wei_Dai
7 Jun 2018 21:04 UTC
104 points
41 comments3 min readLW link2 nominations

Prob­lems in AI Align­ment that philoso­phers could po­ten­tially con­tribute to

Wei_Dai
17 Aug 2019 17:38 UTC
84 points
14 comments2 min readLW link

The Dar­win Results

Zvi
25 Nov 2017 13:30 UTC
76 points
10 comments5 min readLW link
(thezvi.wordpress.com)

Im­plicit extortion

paulfchristiano
13 Apr 2018 16:33 UTC
74 points
16 comments6 min readLW link
(ai-alignment.com)

Sim­plified Poker

Zvi
4 Jun 2018 15:50 UTC
69 points
17 comments1 min readLW link
(thezvi.wordpress.com)

Against the Lin­ear Utility Hy­poth­e­sis and the Lev­er­age Penalty

AlexMennen
14 Dec 2017 18:38 UTC
73 points
47 comments11 min readLW link

Pavlov Generalizes

abramdemski
20 Feb 2019 9:03 UTC
68 points
4 comments7 min readLW link

TDT for Humans

alkjash
28 Feb 2018 5:40 UTC
62 points
5 comments5 min readLW link
(radimentary.wordpress.com)

EDT solves 5 and 10 with con­di­tional oracles

jessicata
30 Sep 2018 7:57 UTC
62 points
8 comments13 min readLW link

Bayesi­ans vs. Barbarians

Eliezer Yudkowsky
14 Apr 2009 23:45 UTC
63 points
283 comments8 min readLW link

Com­par­i­son of de­ci­sion the­o­ries (with a fo­cus on log­i­cal-coun­ter­fac­tual de­ci­sion the­o­ries)

riceissa
16 Mar 2019 21:15 UTC
65 points
11 comments10 min readLW link

Pas­cal’s Mug­ging: Tiny Prob­a­bil­ities of Vast Utilities

Eliezer Yudkowsky
19 Oct 2007 23:37 UTC
56 points
346 comments4 min readLW link

“UDT2” and “against UD+ASSA”

Wei_Dai
12 May 2019 4:18 UTC
49 points
7 comments7 min readLW link

You May Already Be A Sinner

Scott Alexander
9 Mar 2009 23:18 UTC
44 points
37 comments3 min readLW link

Pas­cal’s Mug­gle Pays

Zvi
16 Dec 2017 20:40 UTC
43 points
17 comments4 min readLW link
(thezvi.wordpress.com)

Coun­ter­fac­tual Mugging

Vladimir_Nesov
19 Mar 2009 6:08 UTC
55 points
295 comments2 min readLW link

Pas­cal’s Mug­gle: In­finites­i­mal Pri­ors and Strong Evidence

Eliezer Yudkowsky
8 May 2013 0:43 UTC
47 points
406 comments26 min readLW link

Hofs­tadter’s Superrationality

gwern
21 Apr 2012 13:33 UTC
50 points
21 comments1 min readLW link

A model of UDT with a con­crete prior over log­i­cal statements

Benya
28 Aug 2012 21:45 UTC
43 points
24 comments4 min readLW link

New­comb’s prob­lem hap­pened to me

Academian
26 Mar 2010 18:31 UTC
43 points
99 comments3 min readLW link

(Ir)ra­tio­nal­ity of Pas­cal’s wager

filozof3377@gmial.com
3 Aug 2020 20:57 UTC
2 points
9 comments4 min readLW link

A model of UDT with a halt­ing oracle

cousin_it
18 Dec 2011 14:18 UTC
41 points
102 comments2 min readLW link

More on the Lin­ear Utility Hy­poth­e­sis and the Lev­er­age Prior

AlexMennen
26 Feb 2018 23:53 UTC
37 points
4 comments9 min readLW link

What a re­duc­tion of “could” could look like

cousin_it
12 Aug 2010 17:41 UTC
64 points
111 comments2 min readLW link

Knowl­edge is Freedom

Scott Garrabrant
9 Feb 2018 5:24 UTC
63 points
16 comments6 min readLW link

Log­i­cal Up­date­less­ness as a Ro­bust Del­e­ga­tion Problem

Scott Garrabrant
27 Oct 2017 21:16 UTC
48 points
2 comments2 min readLW link

Parfit’s Es­cape (Filk)

G Gordon Worley III
29 Mar 2019 2:31 UTC
40 points
0 comments1 min readLW link

The Black­mail Equation

Stuart_Armstrong
10 Mar 2010 14:46 UTC
20 points
87 comments5 min readLW link

Two Types of Updatelessness

abramdemski
15 Feb 2018 20:19 UTC
45 points
17 comments1 min readLW link

Dis­tance Func­tions are Hard

Grue_Slinky
13 Aug 2019 17:33 UTC
40 points
19 comments6 min readLW link

Two Alter­na­tives to Log­i­cal Counterfactuals

jessicata
1 Apr 2020 9:48 UTC
30 points
61 comments5 min readLW link
(unstableontology.com)

Policy Approval

abramdemski
30 Jun 2018 0:24 UTC
49 points
25 comments9 min readLW link

Is risk aver­sion re­ally ir­ra­tional ?

kilobug
31 Jan 2012 20:34 UTC
41 points
65 comments9 min readLW link

Oper­a­tional­iz­ing New­comb’s Problem

ErickBall
11 Nov 2019 22:52 UTC
36 points
23 comments1 min readLW link

Another at­tempt to ex­plain UDT

cousin_it
14 Nov 2010 16:52 UTC
35 points
54 comments2 min readLW link

The Happy Dance Problem

abramdemski
17 Nov 2017 0:47 UTC
36 points
7 comments3 min readLW link

UDT as a Nash Equilibrium

cousin_it
6 Feb 2018 14:08 UTC
36 points
17 comments1 min readLW link

A prob­lem with Time­less De­ci­sion The­ory (TDT)

Gary_Drescher
4 Feb 2010 18:47 UTC
36 points
140 comments3 min readLW link

Solv­ing the two en­velopes problem

rstarkov
9 Aug 2012 13:42 UTC
35 points
33 comments4 min readLW link

Prob­le­matic Prob­lems for TDT

drnickbone
29 May 2012 15:41 UTC
36 points
301 comments4 min readLW link

The Ab­sent-Minded Driver

Wei_Dai
16 Sep 2009 0:51 UTC
34 points
150 comments3 min readLW link

Com­plete Class: Con­se­quen­tial­ist Foundations

abramdemski
11 Jul 2018 1:57 UTC
43 points
34 comments13 min readLW link