V. is the prisoners' dilemma all of sociology?

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 23 (2):187 – 192 (1980)
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If social relations often require the choice of a cooperative solution to a prisoners' dilemma, we must ask how people generally solve the games. Three possible devices are that those who choose non-cooperative strategies get a bad reputation and so learn to be cooperative, that people are taught by parents that non-cooperators have unhappy lives, or that an official can be paid a salary to make the cooperative choice. By analyzing erotic love and marriage, and why people try to do their jobs, it is suggested that these devices result in people often solving prisoners' dilemma games without being conscious of them. How then do these structures that 'have the function' of solving prisoners' dilemmas get created and maintain themselves? It is suggested that Deweyan consciousness, existing only when structural strains or unsolved games create personal problems, is adequate to explain many such functional structures.



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