The more you think about it, the more baffling Newcomb's Problem becomes. To most people, at first it is obvious which solution is correct (not that they agree on which one), but their confidence can be eroded easily. Only a puzzled few are torn between the two right from the start, and for years so was I. But at last, thanks to a certain metaargument, one solution came to seem obvious to me. And yet, imagining myself actually faced with Newcomb's choice, I started to worry that I might experience just enough last-minute ambivalence to unsettle my confidence in that argument. Fortunately, I have found a strategy to ensure making the right choice when the chips are down.
Not only is Newcomb's Problem puzzling in its own right, it is philosophically significant. The appeal of both solutions reflects a conflict between two plausible conceptions of rational choice. In making a decision, should one consider all of its probabilistic consequences or only its causal consequences? Each conception has its supporters, but some philosophers find them both defensible and see no hope of resolving the conflict. I think the conflict can be resolved, at least in the context of Newcomb's Problem, by properly assessing the relevant counterfactual conditionals.