Reasonable utility functions and playing the cooperative way


Authors
Gerald Gaus
University of Arizona
Abstract
In this essay I dispute the widely held view that utility theory and decision theory are formalizations of instrumental rationality. I show that the decision theoretic framework has no deep problems accommodating the ?reasonable? qua a preference to engage in fair cooperation as such. All evaluative criteria relevant to choice can be built into a von Neumann?Morgenstern utility function. I focus on the claim that, while rational choice?driven agents are caught in the Pareto?inferior outcome, reasonable agents could ?solve? the PD and cooperate. Not so, I argue. If reasonable people find themselves in PD situations they too would follow the dominant ?defect? strategy. The difference between instrumentally rational agents and those who are also reasonable is not that they would behave differently in Prisoner?s Dilemmas, but that reasonable people are more successful at avoiding the Prisoner?s Dilemma and tend to play more cooperative games
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/13698230802021371
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 45,727
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1993 - Columbia University Press.
Morals by Agreement.David Gauthier - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
Rationality and Freedom.Amartya Sen - 2005 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 67 (1):182-183.

View all 25 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
33 ( #273,448 of 2,280,957 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #418,374 of 2,280,957 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature