Critics have objected to constrained maximization (CM) for several reasons. Some criticize CM because it deviates from the received theory of rational choice. Others find CM impossible because of the procedural complexities of conditional co-operation. 1 In this chapter I defend the possibility of constrained maximization from the point of view of artificial morality,2 by focusing on this pair of criticisms, the first methodological and the second procedural. To the first I reply that the possibility of indirect choice must be allowed if we are to argue for (rather than assert) the received theory of rational choice. I address the second by actually implementing a working CM player in the simplest sequential case. I strengthen this argument by implementing a CM player for the procedurally more difficult simultaneous case.
A NEUTRAL CRITERION OF SUCCESS
I am attempting show how morality can be instrumentally efficient; how some mutually beneficial constraining principles are the best means to a player’s ends. Following David Gauthier, I want to argue for the rationality of indirect choice, where principles constraining a player’s immediate choices are his best means in some situations. Both this argument, and those of critics of indirection, should appeal to a neutral criterion for success, which leaves open whether straightforward or indirect choice of actions is better. I develop one such criterion in this section.
The quest for a fundamental justification of morality properly begins with instrumental rationality, for two reasons. A justification must be embedded in a normative theory and the premises of a fundamental justification must be non-moral. Taken broadly, rational choice provides the non-moral normative framework that we need: