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## Question

There is a predictor that predicts the likelihood of events with %100 accuracy.

Today, you are presented with two boxes. You may open only Box B, or you may open both boxes.

Box A contains \$1000.

Box B may or may not contain \$1,000,000, depending on what the predictor predicted you would do.

If it predicted you would only open Box B, it has placed \$1,000,000 in Box B.

If if predicted you would open both boxes, then Box B is empty.

Should you open both boxes, or only Box B?

At first glance, it seems that opening only Box B is the best answer. Though I believe this, there is also an argument for opening both boxes:

The amount of money in the boxes isn't going to change now. It is a previously set amount. If you open Box B and it contains \$1,000,000, wouldn't it be sensible to open Box A in order to gain \$1000 more?

Of course, the predictor has predicted this course of action, so Box B contains no money. You should open Box A so you at least have \$1000. Then again, if you just open Box B, it should contain \$1,000,000. Right?

Personally, I love this paradox. Enjoy.

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Open Box B first. If it contains no money of course you must open box A to get \$1,000, thus fulfilling the prophecy. If you open Box B and it contains \$1,000,000 you cannot open Box A. To do so would undoubtedly create a space time paradox disruption and you will likely just pop out of existence. So my advice is, beforehand, choose not to be greedy just to prove a paradox, take your million and spilt. Left to forever wonder about what you could have bought with that extra \$1,000.

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Open Box B first. If it contains no money of course you must open box A to get \$1,000, thus fulfilling the prophecy. If you open Box B and it contains \$1,000,000 you cannot open Box A. To do so would undoubtedly create a space time paradox disruption and you will likely just pop out of existence. So my advice is, beforehand, choose not to be greedy just to prove a paradox, take your million and spilt. Left to forever wonder about what you could have bought with that extra \$1,000.

This reminds me of the film The Princess Bride. When the man must figure out if he was given the poisoned drink, or if his guest assumed that he would switch them, and thus has the unpoisoned drink.

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You are invited to play a game operated by The Seer.

Here's what you need to know about The Seer:

1. The Seer is a mortal being, a prophet or oracle doing the earthly work of the Hosts of Heaven. Who are the Hosts of Heaven? It is entirely your own choice how you answer that question. Any answer is acceptable.

2. The Seer has observed you. (S)he knows something about what you believe and about your character. But The Seer is not omniscient and does not know your secrets - only what you allow others to see through your social interactions. Through these observations, The Seer is able to make a very accurate prediction about what you will choose to do in this game; and (s)he has set up the game accordingly (based on his/her prediction).

3. The Seer has set up the game in advance. It is ready for you to play. The Seer will take no part in the proceedings as you play.

Here's the game:

*Before you are two inverted opaque cups, A and B. Hidden inside them are prizes.

*You are permitted one of two choices:

-----1. Take the prizes hidden under both cups A and B

-----2. Take only the prize hidden under cup B

*Under cup A is \$1,000.

*Under cup B is either:

-------Nothing, if the Seer has predicted you will choose both cups A and B

-------\$1,000,000 if the Seer has predicted that you will choose only cup B

*To repeat, what is under cup B has already been determined. The Seer has made his/her prediction and has moved on before you begin the game.

Which option will you choose, and why: take the prizes under both cups A and B, or take just the prize under cup B?

Do you believe in the Seer? In the Hosts of Heaven?

What if the prize under cup A was your funeral expenses and the prize under cup B (if you choose cup B only) was a trip to Heaven where you would join the Hosts for all time?

After thinking about this deeper version of the game, which prize do you want? How important is this game to you?

Would you be willing to live a secret life of disbelief and live an outward life such that The Seer will accept that you believe in him/her?

What if this is not a game but the reality of life? What if we are all required to play this game before we die?

Edited by seeksit
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I would take both cups. If it has been predetermined what are under both cups anyway, I may as well go for both. Assuming the Seer thinks this of me beforehand, I'm selling myself short by only picking one cup. If the Seer thinks I'll only pick one cup for me beforehand, well, an even bigger win.

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Izzy, if I were the Seer, I would have predicted your response. You put high value on rationality and aren't prone to believing in "seers". Therefore I would have predicted that you would answer A & B and I would have put nothing under cup B. Same for many other of the rationalists here. Nothing goes under cup B if you have demonstrated by your posts that you operate in a world dominated by reason.

Izzy's answer is the rational one. Her logic is flawless. That's what's so cool about this paradox. If you want the big prize, you have to suspend reason and use another form of thinking.

Edited by seeksit
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Fair enough, I also predicted you'd say that. I'm cool with 1000 dollars, but am curious as to why the Seer would want a million going out to 'irrational' people.

*edit* Wait, I think I'm on the verge of figuring out a way to fool the Seer. Other than posting stupidly, obviously. I'm sure there has to be a way besides faith to get the big bucks? Wait for it..

Edited by Izzy
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*edit* Wait, I think I'm on the verge of figuring out a way to fool the Seer. Other than posting stupidly, obviously. I'm sure there has to be a way besides faith to get the big bucks? Wait for it..

The Seer would know that I'm a sweet and loving and caring person and that I realize that if I took a million bucks then that would mean the Seer would be out a million bucks. And since we somehow know that the Seer is an emissary of all that we hold dearest and sacredest (or whatever) then I would gladly give up the money (which would only corrupt me anyway) to see it in the hands of the Seer and put to the loftiest of uses.

But really I would still walk off with the money anyway

. The Seer can't see inside spoilers, right? RIGHT?!?

Oh well, the Seer knows by now what a wise-a** I am anyway

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Whoops, I just re-read the OP and realized I don't have the choice of not taking either cup.

In that case, since I don't have the option of leaving the contents of cup B for the Seer, I'll leave at least cup A.

That might mean I end up taking the million bucks from him/her, but I guess I don't have any choice over that anyway.

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I would choose cup B simply because I do not play with fate. I do not believe it exists. I would not choose something simply because I am handed it. what if there are choices that go along with cup A? sure I may get \$1,000, but in reality what if I am not merely receiving it, but committing to something? if this were reality I would follow the rabbit into the hole and not accept anything at face value. if cup B holds nothing then so be it, if the cup had not come to me, isn't it the same?

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I can even take this further. to be honest, the Seer can simply know one fact, and know two outcomes: he knows I will choose a cup. so in the end it doesn't matter. a cup will be chosen.

since he knows that I will choose a cup, it is up to the person simply to choose! choosing cup A gets you \$1,000. cup B gets you \$1,000,000.

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sorry for the triple post but I cannot edit mine. I am not saying what was said by Izzy is not valid, it is. however, it is flawed, and is not flawless. to say that you choose both cups A AND B, because if B has nothing, A at least contains \$1,000. that is not at all logical. if the Seer has observed me, and has made a prediction based on my character, choices, actions, whatever it may be, then the Seer would predict I choose cup B. it is the only purely logical choice. why would you go for cup A and receive only \$1,000, instead of \$1,000,000? there is no \$1,000,001 prize; it is one or the other. you either choose to receive the prize from what IS under A, or what IS under B. the seer knows you'd pick what is most logical, IF you're logical. if you play games and don't take a chance, it is easier to perceive future choices. you cannot play with fate.

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Spookify, if the Seer has observed me, and indeed he has, he would know I would pick cup B regardless. Now, because the items were placed under the cups BEFORE I chose, and can't change while I'm choosing, I could either:

1. Pick cup A only, and receive \$1000.

2. Pick cups A and B and receive \$1,001,000. (Because whether or not I pick A, B will still contain \$1,000,000.)

3. Pick cups A and B and still only receive \$1000.

Now, if I've managed to fool the Seer, I get option 2 and \$1,001,000. If I haven't, I wouldn't get the million regardless of whether I picked cup B by itself or not.

So, my answer remains, pick cups A and B.

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so you wish to choose a and b assuming he thinks you will choose cup b? you only get that if he assumes you'll choose b in the first place. but what if he assumes you will pick a and b due to the fact that there is a higher pay off if he thinks you'll choose b? the seer would be setting himself up for reverse logic that's easily seen if you choose a and b that's just me. I don't see it that way.

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I think everyone is going to choose Cup B anyway, which the Seer probably realizes. I can't see anyone going for only A. So, in most cases, B will be empty. Except for the people that the Seer thinks will truly only pick cup A. (Because, I assume it's in the Seer's best interest to keep his money, right?). You'd have to trick him completely, which would be difficult. The Seer probably also assumes no one will go for just A. B is too tempting. So.. yeah.

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Both cups because now that I know the rules, the seer thinks I will go for cup B for the extra money. However, the seer would have known this and would not have placed anything under cup B. This means that I should still choose both cups instead of going on a Vizzini type monologue because I cannot choose only A. I still have a 50/50 chance of getting the extra money so I would not choose only A anyway.

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the entire paradox is a fallacy... if you choose cup a, it's merely an assumption that there are equal chances of you receiving either \$1,000, or \$1,001,000. cup b is simply that the seer WILL choose your cup. if you choose b, you get \$1,000,000 dollars. if you assume he will choose what you choose, you have a 50/50, right? however, if you choose b, the entire theory behind option 2 (cup b) is that he will pick what you pick. at the end of the day there are still two answers. \$1,000, and \$,100,000. there is no \$1,001,000 dollars to obtain.

blahblah, there are only 10 outcomes with the scenario ^^

Edited by spookify
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there is no \$1,001,000 dollars to obtain.

Yes there is. If I trick the Seer, do everything right, and somehow get the million dollars, then the thousand under Cup A will still be there. It doesn't go away.

Edited by Izzy
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Edit: Nevermind...

Edited by plasmid
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Yes there is. If I trick the Seer, do everything right, and somehow get the million dollars, then the thousand under Cup A will still be there. It doesn't go away.

you're assuming you can trick the seer when that is unnecessary. if he has a 50/50 of predicting what you WILL choose, not what you want to choose in your thoughts, and let's just throw this out there; if he chooses a and b, and you choose a and b, then nothing is under cup b. it states that clearly in the option for if he predicts you will choose a and b. if you choose a and b, then what happens? you get \$1,000 dollars. in the end it boils down to: do you want \$1,000, or \$1,000,000? because if you choose option b, and he chose you'll pick option a and b, then you receive nothing. it works in unison with a reverse logic defense to you choosing b. it goes back over that whole assumption. there is no way you can receive \$1,001,000. there are two approaches to understanding the seer: he is 100% in his predictions, or he has a 50/50. if, like the post states, the seer will most likely know what you will guess, then you go with that answer to receive the most profit. however, with that logic, the most profit can only be cup b, because it is the only one that is definite in receiving the most money without an assumption you will draw from two sources.

in the end it boils down to this: he KNOWS you'll pick a and b, and you'll receive \$1,000. OR in the end he KNOWS you'll pick b, and thus the reward is \$1,000,000. you can't get \$1,001,000 out of it.

Edited by spookify
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you're assuming you can trick the seer when that is unnecessary. if he has a 50/50 of predicting what you WILL choose, not what you want to choose in your thoughts, and let's just throw this out there; if he chooses a and b, and you choose a and b, then nothing is under cup b. it states that clearly in the option for if he predicts you will choose a and b. if you choose a and b, then what happens? you get \$1,000 dollars. in the end it boils down to: do you want \$1,000, or \$1,000,000? because if you choose option b, and he chose you'll pick option a and b, then you receive nothing. it works in unison with a reverse logic defense to you choosing b. it goes back over that whole assumption. there is no way you can receive \$1,001,000. there are two approaches to understanding the seer: he is 100% in his predictions, or he has a 50/50. if, like the post states, the seer will most likely know what you will guess, then you go with that answer to receive the most profit. however, with that logic, the most profit can only be cup b, because it is the only one that is definite in receiving the most money without an assumption you will draw from two sources.

in the end it boils down to this: he KNOWS you'll pick a and b, and you'll receive \$1,000. OR in the end he KNOWS you'll pick b, and thus the reward is \$1,000,000. you can't get \$1,001,000 out of it.

Either way, it comes down to you and the seer entering a Vizzini like conversation were the seer changes his prediction based on what you say and you base what you say on the seers prediction.

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Dude, what part of this are you missing?

There are two cups, A and B. Cup A contains \$1000. Cup B contains either nothing or \$1,000,000. You cannot only pick cup A (which I missed before, but it's insignificant). So, cup B must be picked, either with cup A, or by itself. Now, assuming the Seer knows nothing about me (which we know isn't true), I have a 1/4 shot of walking away with either \$1,001,000, \$1,000,000, \$1000 or nothing. Now, clearly I want to go for more cash, meaning I have to eliminate the worst options. The nothing can be avoided by deciding to pick cups A and B instead of just B. Unfortunately, this also knocks out the \$1,000,000. Now I have a 50-50 shot of getting either \$1,001,000 or \$1000. Again, that's assuming the Seer hasn't been observing me, so fair odds. Now, we all know the Seer has been keeping an eye on me, and knows I think logically. However, he also knows I know he's thinking this of me, meaning there's a slight possibility that he might say I pick only Cup B, but in reality I pick both cups, and leave with \$1,001,000. If he thinks I would pick both cups, then that means there would have been nothing under Cup B anyway. So, I would leave with either \$1,000 or nothing.

Is this making any sense yet? \$1,001,000 or \$1000 > \$1000 or nothing.

*edit* He doesn't KNOW, because he isn't omniscient.

Edited by Izzy
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First of all, I have to apologize. When I did a search before nothing came up, but Newcomb's paradox was posted here before:

I don't know why the search option didn't find it for me then. Anyhow, that other thread got almost no attention. The discussion here has been right on the mark. The greatest minds that have tackled this paradox have the same disagreements that Izzy and Spookify have been so ably articulating.

Blah- there is no chance for a Vizzini entanglement because the Seer has made the prediction and "left the room" before you enter it and start playing the game.

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Any smart or logical person would take both cups. Since there are prizes, one under both cups, and you're allowed to take either both or the one without a random value, there's nothing about faith to think about - it's either "Do I want both or just this one I have to take regardless?"

"I think I'll take both.

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yeah i'd have to agree taking both cups would be the most logical choice. if you only take cup B, you either get 1,000,000 or nothing, if you take both cups you either get 1,000, or 1,001,000 dollars. definitely better.

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you are all completely right and logical, so u will all only win 1000, i, on the other hand, am silly so the seer will see this and i will win more money

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