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, first published in 2007, 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 both how moral behaviour can emerge in socially structured environments, and how it can persist even when it is not typically viewed as 'rational' from a traditional economic perspective. This book also provides a theory of how moral principles and the moral sentiments play an indispensable role in effective choice, acting as 'fast and frugal heuristics' in social decision contexts. (shrink)
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.
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 (...) theory of evolutionary explanations of justice which avoids their methodological criticisms, and develop a spatial model of divide-the-dollar with more robust convergence properties than the models of Skyrms (1996) and D'Arms et al. (1998). (shrink)
Sender–receiver games, first introduced by David Lewis (), have received increased attention in recent years as a formal model for the emergence of communication. Skyrms () 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. () 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 the state–action pairs are not held constant over time and show that neither of these two models of learning learn to signal in this environment. However, a model of reinforcement learning with discounting of the past does learn to signal; it also gives rise to the phenomenon of linguistic drift. 1 Introduction2 Dynamic Signalling Games with Reinforcement Learning2.1 Introducing new states2.2 Swapping state–action pairs3 Discounting the Past3.1 Learning to signal in a dynamic world3.2 An unexpected outcome: linguistic drift4 ConclusionAppendix: A Markov Chain Analysis. (shrink)
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 (...) among entire families of goods, and hence cannot choose among them. This result illustrates the dangers of speaking of the choices of an ?ideal rational agent? when one does not make precise the exact nature of the idealizing assumptions. The result may also be viewed as providing an upper bound on the kinds of idealizing assumptions which can be made for rational agents, beyond which the very concept of choice becomes attenuated. (shrink)
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 (...) the Pasadena game, I argue that weak expectations may provide a very poor measure of the value of an individual play of the game, and hence should not be used to value individual plays unless further information is taken into consideration. (shrink)
In the course of history, many individuals have the dubious honor of being remembered primarily for an eponym of which they would disapprove. How many are aware that Joseph-Ignace Guillotin actually opposed the death penalty? Another notable case is that of Maria Agnesi, an Italian woman of privileged, but not noble, birth who excelled at mathematics and philosophy during the eighteenth century. In her treatise of 1748, Instituzioni Analitiche, she provided a comprehensive summary of the current state of knowledge concerning (...) both integral calculus and differential equations. Later in life she was elected to the Bologna Academy of Sciences and, in 1762, was consulted by the University of Turin for an opinion on the work of an up-and-coming mathematician named Joseph-Louis Lagrange. (shrink)
During Leibniz's lifetime, interest in the interpretation of the Bible and biblical prophecy became central to the theological and political concerns of Protestant Europe. Leibniz's treatment of this phenomenon will be examined in the light of his views on the nature of revelation and its role in his defence of Christianity. It will be argued that Leibniz's defence of the miracle of revelation – unlike his arguments on behalf of the core Christian mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation – is (...) demonstrable by purely natural and scientific means, especially the verification of history. (shrink)
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. I sketch a proof of a general representation theorem for a large class of evolutionary game-theoretic models played on a social network, in hope that this will contribute to a greater understanding of the long-term evolutionary dynamics of such models, and hence the evolution of social norms.
Despite promising early work into the role of immune cells such as eosinophils in adipose tissue (AT) homeostasis, recent findings revealed that elevating the number of eosinophils in AT alone is insufficient for improving metabolic impairments in obese mice. Eosinophils are primarily recognized for their role in allergic immunity and defence against parasitic worms. They have also been detected in AT and appear to contribute to adipose homeostasis and drive energy expenditure, but the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. It has long (...) been recognized that immune cells such as macrophages respond to external signals to regulate adipose homeostasis and energy balance, however, less is known about the relevance of eosinophil activity in AT. As the authors propose in this review, given recent debate over the relative importance of their tissue‐specific abundance, the stage is now set for exploring the functionality and activation states of AT eosinophils. (shrink)
The idiomatic use of ;xs1F24λλ' xs1F24 found in classical writers is familiar in Aristotle; but there is a set of passages for which the ordinary renderings of it fail, and the difficulty is such that the text has been suspected. Bonitz, for instance, Index Aristotelicus, 33b2O, says of two of these passages, Pol. 1257b21, Metaph. 1038a 14, that xs22EFλλxs22EF is enough by itself, or even that xs22EFλλxs22EF without xs1F24 seems required , and it has been proposed in the second of (...) these places to read xs1F96 for xs1F24. It must be contended that the text is sound in all the difficult passages in question. (shrink)