David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of Science 65 (1):76-102 (1998)
Game theoretic explanations of the evolution of human behavior have become increasingly widespread. At their best, they allow us to abstract from misleading particulars in order to better recognize and appreciate broad patterns in the phenomena of human social life. We discuss this explanatory strategy, contrasting it with the particularist methodology of contemporary evolutionary psychology. We introduce some guidelines for the assessment of evolutionary game theoretic explanations of human behavior: such explanations should be representative, robust, and flexible. Distinguishing these features sharply can help to clarify the import and accuracy of game theorists' claims about the robustness and stability of their explanatory schemes. Our central example is the work of Brian Skyrms, who offers a game theoretic account of the evolution of our sense of justice. Modeling the same Nash game as Skyrms, we show that, while Skyrms' account is robust with respect to certain kinds of variation, it fares less well in other respects.
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Elizabeth Anderson (2000). Beyond Homo Economicus: New Developments in Theories of Social Norms. Philosophy and Public Affairs 29 (2):170–200.
Simon M. Huttegger (2007). Robustness in Signaling Games. Philosophy of Science 74 (5):839-847.
Patrick Grim, Randy Au, Nancy Louie, Robert Rosenberger, William Braynen, Evan Selinger & Robb E. Eason (2008). A Graphic Measure for Game-Theoretic Robustness. Synthese 163 (2):273 - 297.
Peter Vanderschraaf (1999). Game Theory, Evolution, and Justice. Philosophy and Public Affairs 28 (4):325–358.
Francesco Guala (2007). The Philosophy of Social Science: Metaphysical and Empirical. Philosophy Compass 2 (6):954-980.
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