Modeling Rationality, Morality, and Evolution

By Peter A. Danielson | Go to book overview

11
Beliefs and Co-operation

Bernardo A. Huberman and Natalie S. Glance


1. Introduction

Social dilemmas have long attracted the attention of sociologists, economists and political scientists because they are central to issues that range from securing ongoing co-operation in volunteer organizations, such as unions and environmental groups, to the possibility of having a workable society without a government. Environmental pollution, nuclear arms proliferation, population explosion, conservation of electricity and fuel, and giving to charity are a few more examples of situations where an individual benefits by not contributing to the common cause, but if all individuals shirk, everyone is worse off. Although there are no simple solutions to social dilemmas, studying them sheds light on the nature of interactions among people and the emergence of social compacts. And because such dilemmas involve the interplay between individual actions and global behaviour, they elucidate how the actions of a group of individuals making personal choices gives rise to social phenomena ( Glance and Huberman 1994).

Discovering the global behaviour of a large system of many individual parts, such as the dynamics of social dilemmas, calls for a bottom- up approach. Aggregate behaviour stems from the actions of individuals who act to maximize their utility on the basis of uncertain and possibly delayed information. As long as one is careful both in constructing the model and in making clear its limitations and its underlying assumptions, the insights obtained through such an approach can be very valuable.

Beliefs and expectations are at the core of human choices and preferences. They arise from the intentional nature of people and reflect the way decision-makers convolve the future as well as the past into decisions that are made in the present. For example, individuals acting within the context of a larger group may take into account the effect of their actions both on personal welfare and on the welfare of the larger group. In other words, individuals form their own models of how the group dynamics works based on some set of beliefs that colour their preferences.

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Modeling Rationality, Morality, and Evolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Series Editors ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Contributors ix
  • 1: Introduction 3
  • References 9
  • Rationality 11
  • 2: Rationality and Rules 13
  • Notes 34
  • 3: Intention and Deliberation 41
  • References 54
  • 4: Following Through with One's Plans: Reply to David Gauthier 55
  • Notes 64
  • Notes 65
  • 5: How Braess' Paradox Solves Newcomb's Problem 67
  • Notes 86
  • 6: Economics of the Prisoner's Dilemma: A Background 92
  • Notes 111
  • Notes 115
  • 7: Modeling Rationality: A Normative or Descriptive Task? 119
  • References 132
  • Modeling Social Interaction 135
  • 8: Theorem 1 137
  • References 158
  • 9: The Failure of Success: Intrafamilial Exploitation in the Prisoner's Dilemma 161
  • References 184
  • 10: Transforming Social Dilemmas: Group Identity and Co-Operation 185
  • Conclusion 206
  • Acknowledgments 207
  • Notes 207
  • Notes 208
  • 11: Beliefs and Co-Operation 210
  • References 234
  • 12: The Neural Representation of the Social World 236
  • References 253
  • Morality 255
  • 13: Moral Dualism 257
  • Notes 278
  • Notes 281
  • 14: Categorically Rational Preferences and the Structure of Morality 282
  • Notes 301
  • References 301
  • 15: Why We Need a Moral Equilibrium Theory 302
  • Notes 330
  • Notes 338
  • 16: Morality's Last Chance 340
  • Notes 371
  • Notes 374
  • Evolution 377
  • 17: Mutual Aid: Darwin Meets the Logic of Decision 379
  • Notes 403
  • Notes 404
  • 18: Three Differences Between Deliberation and Evolution 408
  • Notes 420
  • Notes 421
  • 19: Evolutionary Models of Co-Operative Mechanisms: Artificial Morality and Genetic Programming 423
  • Acknowledgments 439
  • Notes 439
  • Notes 441
  • 20: Norms as Emergent Properties of Adaptive Learning: The Case of Economic Routines 442
  • Notes 459
  • Notes 461
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