Evolution and Autonomy


The use of evolutionary game theory to explain the evolution of human norms and the behavior of humans who act according to those norms is widespread. Both the aims and motivation for its use are clearly articulated by Harms and Skyrms (2008) in the following passage: "A good theory of evolution of norms might start by explaining the evolution of altruism in Prisoner’s Dilemma, of Stag Hunting, and of the equal split in the symmetric bargaining game. These are not well-explained by classical game theory based on rational choice. From a technical point of view, they present different theoretical challenges. In the bargaining game, there are an infinite number of equilibria with no principled (rational choice) way to select the cooperative one. In Stag Hunt there are only two, but the non-cooperative one is selected by risk-dominance. In Prisoner’s Dilemma the state of mutual cooperation is not a Nash equilibrium at all, and cooperation flies in the face of the rational-choice principle that one does not choose less rather than more. In contrast to rational choice theory, the most common tool of evolutionary game theory is the replicator dynamics, in which the propagation rate of each strategy is determined by its current payoffs. These dynamics have a rationale in both biological and cultural evolutionary modeling, and sometimes tell us things that rational choice theory does not." We agree with the first sentence in this quotation: a good theory about the behavior under norms ought to explain altruism in the Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD), playing Stag in Stag Hunt (SH), and offering equal splits in the symmetric Nash bargaining game (NB). We also agree with Harms and Skyrms about the difference in technical challenges each of these games poses. Finding a single mechanism, even one as broadly understood as evolution, that could solve these challenges en masse is no doubt a tall order. Nonetheless, in this paper, we present a single, simple, modification to SH, NB, and a general n-player PD that does just that: we introduce deontological autonomy into the models.



External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

  • Only published works are available at libraries.

Similar books and articles

Game Theoretic Pragmatics.Michael Franke - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (3):269-284.
Evolutionary game theory, morality, and Darwinism.Gary Mar - 2000 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (1-2):1-2.
Distinctive human social motivations in a game-theoretic framework.Don Ross - 2005 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (5):715-716.
Modeling social and evolutionary games.Angela Potochnik - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):202-208.
Game theory and belief in God.Paddy Jane McShane - 2014 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 75 (1):3-12.
Game-theoretic semantics for non-distributive logics.Chrysafis Hartonas - 2019 - Logic Journal of the IGPL 27 (5):718-742.
Game theory and conventiont.Neil Tennant - 2001 - Nordic Journal of Philosophical Logic 6 (1):3-19.
Evolution and the classification of social behavior.Patrick Forber & Rory Smead - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (3):405-421.
On the Narrow Epistemology of Game Theoretic Agents.Boudewijn de Bruin - 2009 - In Ondrej Majer, Ahti-Veikko Pietarinen & Tero Tulenheimo (eds.), Games: Unifying Logic, Language, and Philosophy. Springer.


Added to PP

54 (#220,186)

6 months
14 (#70,137)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Paul Studtmann
Davidson College

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references