Evolution of the Social Contract

New York: Cambridge University Press (1996)
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Abstract

In this pithy and highly readable book, Brian Skyrms, a recognised authority on game and decision theory, investigates traditional problems of the social contract in terms of evolutionary dynamics. Game theory is skilfully employed to offer new interpretations of a wide variety of social phenomena, including justice, mutual aid, commitment, convention and meaning. The author eschews any grand, unified theory. Rather, he presents the reader with tools drawn from evolutionary game theory for the purpose of analysing and coming to understand the social contract. The book is not technical and requires no special background knowledge. As such, it could be enjoyed by students and professionals in a wide range of disciplines: political science, philosophy, decision theory, economics and biology.

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Brian Skyrms
University of California, Irvine

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