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  1. Strategic Justice, Conventionalism, and Bargaining Theory.Michael Moehler - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):8317-8334.
    Conventionalism as a distinct approach to the social contract received significant attention in the game-theoretic literature on social contract theory. Peter Vanderschraaf’s sophisticated and innovative theory of conventional justice represents the most recent contribution to this tradition and, in many ways, can be viewed as a culmination of this tradition. In this article, I focus primarily on Vanderschraaf’s defense of the egalitarian bargaining solution as a principle of justice. I argue that one particular formal feature of this bargaining solution, the (...)
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  • Minority (Dis)Advantage in Population Games.Justin Bruner - 2019 - Synthese 196 (1):413-427.
    We identify a novel ‘cultural red king effect’ that, in many cases, results in stable arrangements which are to the detriment of minority groups. In particular, we show inequalities disadvantaging minority groups can naturally arise under an adaptive process when minority and majority members must routinely determine how to divide resources amongst themselves. We contend that these results show how inequalities disadvantaging minorities can likely arise by dint of their relative size and need not be a result of either explicit (...)
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  • Diversity, Stability, and Social Contract Theory.Michael Moehler - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (12):3285-3301.
    The topic of moral diversity is not only prevalent in contemporary moral and political philosophy, it is also practically relevant. Moral diversity, however, poses a significant challenge for moral theory building. John Thrasher, in his discussion of public reason theory, which includes social contract theory, argues that if one seriously considers the goal of moral constructivism and considerations of representation and stability, then moral diversity poses an insurmountable problem for most public reason theories. I agree with Thrasher that moral diversity (...)
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  • Cooperation, Correlation and the Evolutionary Dominance of Tag-Based Strategies.Justin P. Bruner - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (2):1-20.
    Cooperation in the prisoner’s dilemma is possible if interactions are sufficiently correlated. We show that when conditions favorable to the evolution of cooperation hold tag-based strategies dominate. Thus, well-meaning interventions aimed at promoting cooperation may succeed but will often lead to in-group favoritism and ethnocentric behavior. Exploring ways that promote cooperation but do not usher in tag-based strategies should be a focal point of future work on the evolution of cooperation.
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  • Locke, Nozick and the State of Nature.Justin P. Bruner - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (3):705-726.
    Recently, philosophers have drawn on tools from game theory to explore behavior in Hobbes’ state of nature. I take a similar approach and argue the Lockean state of nature is best conceived of as a conflictual coordination game. I also discuss Nozick’s famous claim regarding the emergence of the state and argue the path to the minimal state is blocked by a hitherto unnoticed free-rider problem. Finally, I argue that on my representation of the Lockean state of nature both widespread (...)
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  • Bargaining and the Dynamics of Divisional Norms.Justin P. Bruner - 2020 - Synthese 197 (1):407-425.
    Recently, philosophers have investigated the emergence and evolution of the social contract. Yet extant work is limited as it focuses on the use of simple behavioral norms in rather rigid strategic settings. Drawing on axiomatic bargaining theory, we explore the dynamics of more sophisticated norms capable of guiding behavior in a wide range of scenarios. Overall, our investigation suggests the utilitarian bargaining solution has a privileged status as it has certain stability properties other social arrangements lack.
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  • Constructivism, Representation, and Stability: Path-Dependence in Public Reason Theories of Justice.John Thrasher - 2019 - Synthese 196 (1):429-450.
    Public reason theories are characterized by three conditions: constructivism, representation, and stability. Constructivism holds that justification does not rely on any antecedent moral or political values outside of the procedure of agreement. Representation holds that the reasons for the choice in the model must be rationally explicable to real agents outside the model. Stability holds that the principles chosen in the procedure should be stable upon reflection, especially in the face of diversity in a pluralistic society. Choice procedures that involve (...)
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