Why Hobbes' State of Nature is Best Modeled by an Assurance Game

Utilitas 21 (3):297-326 (2009)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

In this article, I argue that if one closely follows Hobbes' line of reasoning in Leviathan, in particular his distinction between the second and the third law of nature, and the logic of his contractarian theory, then Hobbes' state of nature is best translated into the language of game theory by an assurance game, and not by a one-shot or iterated prisoner's dilemma game, nor by an assurance dilemma game. Further, I support Hobbes' conclusion that the sovereign must always punish the Foole, and even exclude her from the cooperative framework or take her life, if she defects once society is established, which is best expressed in the language of game theory by a grim strategy. That is, compared to existing game-theoretic interpretations of Hobbes, I argue that the sovereign plays a grim strategy with the citizens once society is established, and not the individuals with one another in the state of nature.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 89,685

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-08-23

Downloads
447 (#37,776)

6 months
7 (#173,711)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Michael Moehler
Virginia Tech

Citations of this work

Hobbes’s State of Nature: A Modern Bayesian Game-Theoretic Analysis.hun CHung - 2015 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (3):485--508.
Diversity, tolerance, and the social contract.Justin P. Bruner - 2015 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 14 (4):429-448.
Game theory and ethics.Bruno Verbeek - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

View all 14 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Games and Decisions: Introduction and Critical Survey.R. Duncan Luce & Howard Raiffa - 1958 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 19 (1):122-123.
Hobbes's war of all against all.Gregory S. Kavka - 1982 - Ethics 93 (2):291-310.
War or peace?: A dynamical analysis of anarchy.Peter Vanderschraaf - 2006 - Economics and Philosophy 22 (2):243-279.

View all 6 references / Add more references