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  1. J. McKenzie Alexander (forthcoming). Learning to Signal in a Dynamic World. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axt044.
    Sender–receiver games, first introduced by David Lewis ([1969]), have received increased attention in recent years as a formal model for the emergence of communication. Skyrms ([2010]) showed that simple models of reinforcement learning often succeed in forming efficient, albeit not necessarily minimal, signalling systems for a large family of games. Later, Alexander et al. ([2012]) showed that reinforcement learning, combined with forgetting, frequently produced both efficient and minimal signalling systems. In this article, I define a ‘dynamic’ sender–receiver game in which (...)
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  2. J. McKenzie Alexander, Cheap Talk, Reinforcement Learning and the Emergence of Cooperation.
    Cheap talk has often been thought incapable of supporting the emergence of cooperation because costless signals, easily faked, are unlikely to be reliable (Zahavi and Zahavi, 1997). I show how, in a social network model of cheap talk with reinforcement learning, cheap talk does enable the emergence of cooperation, provided that individuals also temporally discount the past. This establishes one mechanism that suffices for moving a population of initially uncooperative individuals to a state of mutually beneficial cooperation even in the (...)
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  3. J. McKenzie Alexander, Preferential Attachment and the Search for Successful Theories.
    Multiarm bandit problems have been used to model the selection of competing scientific theories by boundedly rational agents. In this paper, I define a variable-arm bandit problem, which allows the set of scientific theories to vary over time. I show that Roth-Erev reinforcement learning, which solves multiarm bandit problems in the limit, cannot solve this problem in a reasonable time. However, social learning via preferential attachment combined with individual reinforcement learning which discounts the past, does.
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  4. J. McKenzie Alexander (2012). Decision Theory Meets the Witch of Agnesi. Journal of Philosophy 109 (12):712-727.
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  5. J. McKenzie Alexander (2012). Why the Angels Cannot Choose. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (4):619 - 640.
    Decision theory faces a number of problematic gambles which challenge it to say what value an ideal rational agent should assign to the gamble, and why. Yet little attention has been devoted to the question of what an ideal rational agent is, and in what sense decision theory may be said to apply to one. I show that, given one arguably natural set of constraints on the preferences of an idealized rational agent, such an agent is forced to be indifferent (...)
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  6. J. McKenzie Alexander (2011). Expectations and Choiceworthiness. Mind 120 (479):803-817.
    The Pasadena game is an example of a decision problem which lacks an expected value, as traditionally conceived. Easwaran (2008) has shown that, if we distinguish between two different kinds of expectations, which he calls ‘strong’ and ‘weak’, the Pasadena game lacks a strong expectation but has a weak expectation. Furthermore, he argues that we should use the weak expectation as providing a measure of the value of an individual play of the Pasadena game. By considering a modified version of (...)
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  7. J. McKenzie Alexander (2010). Local Interactions and the Dynamics of Rational Deliberation. Philosophical Studies 147 (1):103 - 121.
    Whereas The Stag Hunt and the Evolution of Social Structure supplements Evolution of the Social Contract by examining some of the earlier work’s strategic problems in a local interaction setting, no equivalent supplement exists for The Dynamics of Rational Deliberation . In this article, I develop a general framework for modeling the dynamics of rational deliberation in a local interaction setting. In doing so, I show that when local interactions are permitted, three interesting phenomena occur: (a) the attracting deliberative equilibria (...)
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  8. J. McKenzie Alexander, Reconciling Morality with the Theory of Rational Choice Via Evolution.
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  9. J. McKenzie Alexander (2010). Robustness, Optimality, and the Handicap Principle. Biology and Philosophy 25 (5).
  10. J. McKenzie Alexander (2009). Social Deliberation: Nash, Bayes, and the Partial Vindication of Gabriele Tarde. Episteme 6 (2):164-184.
    At the very end of the 19th century, Gabriele Tarde wrote that all society was a product of imitation and innovation. This view regarding the development of society has, to a large extent, fallen out of favour, and especially so in those areas where the rational actor model looms large. I argue that this is unfortunate, as models of imitative learning, in some cases, agree better with what people actually do than more sophisticated models of learning. In this paper, I (...)
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  11. J. McKenzie Alexander, Co-Operation.
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  12. J. McKenzie Alexander (2007). The Structural Evolution of Morality. Cambridge University Press.
    It is certainly the case that morality governs the interactions that take place between individuals. But what if morality exists because of these interactions? This book argues for the claim that much of the behaviour we view as 'moral' exists because acting in that way benefits each of us to the greatest extent possible, given the socially structured nature of society. Drawing upon aspects of evolutionary game theory, the theory of bounded rationality, and computational models of social networks, it shows (...)
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  13. J. McKenzie Alexander, Game Theory.
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  14. J. McKenzie Alexander (2006). The Stag Hunt and the Evolution of Social Structure, Brian Skyrms. Cambridge University Press, 2004, 149 Pages. [REVIEW] Economics and Philosophy 22 (3):441-448.
  15. J. McKenzie Alexander, The Stag Hunt and the Evolution of Social Structure [Book Review].
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  16. J. McKenzie Alexander, The Evolutionary Foundations of Human Altruism.
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  17. Marc Ereshefsky, Mohan Matthen, Matthew H. Slater, Alex Rosenberg, D. M. Kaplan, Kevin Js Zollman, Peter Vanderschraaf, J. McKenzie Alexander, Andreas Hüttemann & Gordon Belot (2005). 10. The Facts of the Matter: A Discussion of Norton's Material Theory of Induction The Facts of the Matter: A Discussion of Norton's Material Theory of Induction (Pp. 188-197). [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 72 (1).
     
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  18. Peter Vanderschraaf & J. McKenzie Alexander (2005). Follow the Leader: Local Interactions with Influence Neighborhoods. Philosophy of Science 72 (1):86-113.
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  19. J. McKenzie Alexander, Artificial Justice.
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  20. J. McKenzie Alexander (2003). Random Boolean Networks and Evolutionary Game Theory. Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1289-1304.
    Recent years have seen increased interest in the question of whether it is possible to provide an evolutionary game theoretic explanation for certain kinds of social norms. These explanatory approaches often rely on the fact that, in certain evolutionary models, the basin of attraction of "fair" or "just" strategies occupies a certain percentage of the state space. I sketch a proof of a general representation theorem for a large class of evolutionary game theoretic models played on a social network, in (...)
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  21. J. McKenzie Alexander (2002). Behaviorism and Altruistic Acts. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (2):252-252.
    Rachlin's idea that altruism, like self-control, is a valuable, temporally extended pattern of behavior, suggests one way of addressing common problems in developing a rational choice explanation of individual altruistic behavior. However, the form of Rachlin's explicitly behaviorist account of altruistic acts suffers from two faults, one of which questions the feasibility of his particular behaviorist analysis.
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  22. Jeffrey A. Barrett & J. McKenzie Alexander (2002). PSA 2000 Symposium Paper Volume Introduction. Philosophy of Science 69 (S3).
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  23. J. McKenzie Alexander, Evolutionary Game Theory.
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  24. J. McKenzie Alexander (2001). Group Dynamics in the State of Nature. Erkenntnis 55 (2):169-182.
    One common interpretation of the Hobbesian state of nature views itas a social dilemma, a natural extension of the well-knownprisoner''s dilemma to a group context. Kavka (1986)challenges this interpretation, suggesting that the appropriate wayto view the state of nature is as a quasi social dilemma. Iargue that Hobbes''s remarks on the rationality of keeping covenantsin the state of nature indicate that the quasi social dilemma doesnot accurately represent the state of nature. One possiblesolution, I suggest, views the state of nature (...)
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  25. J. McKenzie Alexander (2000). Evolutionary Explanations of Distributive Justice. Philosophy of Science 67 (3):490-516.
    Evolutionary game theoretic accounts of justice attempt to explain our willingness to follow certain principles of justice by appealing to robustness properties possessed by those principles. Skyrms (1996) offers one sketch of how such an account might go for divide-the-dollar, the simplest version of the Nash bargaining game, using the replicator dynamics of Taylor and Jonker (1978). In a recent article, D'Arms et al. (1998) criticize his account and describe a model which, they allege, undermines his theory. I sketch a (...)
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  26. J. McKenzie Alexander, Rajalakshmi Balasubramanian, Jeremy Martin, Kimberly Monahan, Harriet Pollatsek & Ashna Sen, Ruling Out (160, 54, 18) Difference Sets in Some Nonabelian Groups.
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  27. J. McKenzie Alexander, Marc Ebner & Richard Watson, Co-Evolutionary Dynamics on a Deformable Landscape.
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