Social norms and game theory: harmony or discord?

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (3):551-587 (2013)
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Recent years have witnessed an increased number of game-theoretic approaches to social norms, which apparently share some common vocabulary and methods. We describe three major approaches of this kind (due to Binmore, Bicchieri and Gintis), before comparing them systematically on five crucial themes: generality of the solution, preference transformation, punishment, epistemic conditions and type of explanation. This allows us to show that these theories are, by and large, less compatible than they seem. We then argue that those three theories struggle to account for three phenomena pertaining to social norms (namely context-dependence, conflicting norms and self-evidence), with which any complete game-theoretic account should in principle be able to deal.



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Author Profiles

Jonathan Grose
University of Southampton
Cedric Paternotte
Université Paris-Sorbonne

References found in this work

Convention: A Philosophical Study.David Kellogg Lewis - 1969 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Natural justice.Ken Binmore - 2005 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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