Two Gauthiers?

Dialogue 28 (01):43- (1989)
David Gauthier claims that it can be rational to co-operate in a prisoner's dilemma if one has adopted a disposition constraining one's self from maximizing one's individual expected utility, i.e., a constrained maximizer disposition. But I claim cooperation cannot be both voluntary and constrained. In resolving this tension I ask what constrained maximizer dispositions might be. One possibility is that they are rationally acquired, irrevocable psychological mechanisms which determine but do not rationalize cooperation. Another possibility is that they are rationally acquired preference-functions rationalizing cooperation as maximizing. I argue that if they are the first thing, then their adoption fails to make co-operation rational even if, as Gauthier also claims, actions are rational if they express rational dispositions. I then suggest that taking constrained maximizer dispositions to be things of the second sort would result in them being able to make co-operation rational, and that so-taking them therefore serves the bulk and spirit of Gauthier's larger claims, which I reconstruct accordingly.
Keywords David Gauthier  constrained maximization  preference revision  prisoners dilemma
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DOI 10.1017/S0012217300015584
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