The Newcomb Paradox

Math with Bad Drawings

Or, Humility in the Face of Weirdness 

You’re on an alien spaceship orbiting the planet Newcomb. Don’t worry—the air is perfectly breathable. They’ve even got magazines in the waiting room.

As part of their research into human behavior, the aliens have placed two boxes in front of you: a transparent box containing $1000, and an opaque box, whose contents remain a mystery.

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You’re allowed two options: take both boxes, or take just the opaque box.

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It seems obvious. You’d be crazy to leave the guaranteed $1000 behind, right?

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