Evidential decision theories

An “evidential” decision theory (EDT) is one which conditions on possible choices using standard conditional probabilities, aka Bayesian updating. The corresponding candidate for a principle of rational choice would be, “Choose that act which would be the best news, if somebody told you that you’d decided that way.” Contrast causal decision theories and logical decision theories. While relatively few decision theorists advocate for EDT as the principle of rational choice, some do. EDT is historically noteworthy for being the original formulation of the principle of expected utility—the formula was first written down with the most obvious kind of action-conditional, namely a standard conditional probability. However, nobody called this “evidential decision theory” until causal decision theories existed for contrast. See Guide to Logical Decision Theory for a guide to issues surrounding the choice between evidential and other decision theories (as seen from the stance of LDT).