This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Brian Skyrms? Evolution Of The Social Contract

1628 words - 7 pages

     Skyrms’ book, Evolution of the Social Contract, offers a compelling explanation as to why individuals, when placed with one-shot prisoner’s dilemmas, will often cooperate, or choose the equilibrium that will benefit both parties equally. He uses examples to outline how individuals of certain environments frequently engage in activities that benefit the group at their own personal expense. Using both game theory and decision theory, Skyrms explores problems with the social contract when it is applied to evolutionary dynamics. In the chapters of the book, he offers new insights into concepts such as sex and justice, commitment, and mutual aid.
     Skyrms’ writing goes beyond traditional game theory, and exposes some weaknesses in its application. He rejects the theory’s traditional interpretation of rational actors and actions by discovering some glaring inconsistencies. Skyrms conducted a number of experiments using one-shot prisoners’ dilemmas. The ultimatum the author introduces in the first chapter serves as a simple example of a one-shot prisoners’ dilemma. In the initial form of the example, Skyrms proposes there is a cake that must be divided between two individuals. Each individual is looking to maximize his or her utility, and therefore, wants as much of the cake as possible. However, there is a third party, or what Skryms labels a “referee.” The two individuals must determine the percentage or portion of the cake they want and summit these requests to the referee. The percentages must not exceed 100%, or the referee will consume all the cake. It is therefore not in either parties’ best interest to request a significantly large portion. Additionally, if the total of the two requests is below 100% of the cake, the referee will take the left-over portion. The two parties will then aim to maximize their portion, however the best claim that an individual submits is dependent upon the other party’s claim. There are two interacting optimization problems (Skyrms 3, 4).
     An answer to the puzzle will be found in solutions that are in equilibrium. An equilibrium in informed rational self-interest, or a Nash equilibrium, is any solution to the problem whereby neither party could do better by altering its position. However, this is a general and broad definition. Further stipulations may be added. It could be further requisite that should a party alter its position, not only would it not do better, it would do worse than it would have at equilibrium. The inclusion of this additional provision is considered a strict Nash equilibrium. To arrive at such an outcome, given Skyrms example, each individual will request half of the cake (Skyrms 4, 5).
     Such a result is frequent in laboratory experiments. The behaviors can be a bit puzzling when approaching the situation from the view of traditional game theory. One could argue that such a...

Find Another Essay On Brian Skyrms? Evolution of the Social Contract

The Social Contract Essay

913 words - 4 pages Social Contract" in 1762. In 1770 he completed his "Confessions" and lived mostly in France until his death in 1778.Rousseau's sole purpose or thought in writing "The Social Contract", was to consider if, in political society, there can be any legitimate and sure principal of government, taking men as they are and laws as they might be. (Rousseau) His argument is his belief that once men have entered into society; freedom comes to be inseparable

ROUSSEAU ***THE SOCIAL CONTRACT Essay

1108 words - 4 pages , the freedom that he experiences in the State of Nature?"How to find a form of association which will defend the person and goods of each member with the collective force of all, and under which each individual, while uniting himself with the others, obeys no one but himself, and remains as free as before." This is the fundamental problem to which the social contract holds the solution. (361)Rousseau believed that if each individual joined in

Rousseau on the Social Contract and the Equality of Man

954 words - 4 pages line in Social Contract: "Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains." While the poor believe they are protecting themselves they are merely preserving the right to property of the rich and allowing the inequality to continue. The Second Discourse on Inequality and Social Contract are very different in their final aim. Second Discourse shows that man, at least the poor man, can never be free in civil society while Social Contract Rousseau attempts to create a society where freedom is possible for all.

Social contract in the view of Rousseau and Locke

1416 words - 6 pages and honor the Enlightenment in his belief in the middle class and its right to freedom of conscience and right to property, in his faith in science, and in his confidence in the goodness of humanity. His influence upon philosophy and political theory has been immense.Jean Jacques Rousseau was born in Switzerland but spent the majority of his life in France. Rousseau stresses, as does John Locke, the idea of a social contract as the basis of

The Evolution of Evolution

1419 words - 6 pages The views of society towards the creation of humanity have rapidly changed since the discovery of evolution. Nevertheless, there was a time before the world did not know the theory of evolution and the theories demonstrated by Sir Charles Darwin. Before the evolution, there were people who were subjected to religious ideologies of how mankind was created, they believed that the upper class was known to be “divine creatures”. However, the

The Law of Contract

1550 words - 6 pages of Archie's who is a mechanic discovers that the car had in fact been involved in an accident. Although the damage is not serious, it meant the car was worth £300 instead of the £550 Archie paid for it. Two days later, Imelda changes her mind and refuses to give Gary her old car.Discuss the contractual claims which may arise, and the legal issues upon which their outcome may depend.The four essential elements of a contract: offer

How the 'social contract' described by Hobbs and Locke led to the formation of the United States and the citizens role in maintaining the social contract today

1680 words - 7 pages The Social Contract and the formation of the United StatesFor most of recorded history, with brief exceptions, i.e. ancient Greece and Rome, mankind has lived under the rule or control of a single man or a group of men. The majority of men therefore lived in a state of insecurity, fear and terror. Imagine living under the power of a man who had control over all aspects of your life. He could take your food, your possessions, your family, and if

Rousseau’s: State of Nature and Social Contract

1480 words - 6 pages In the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau he describes what he believes is the state of nature and the social contract that humans form in civilizations. This discussion mostly takes place in his book called the “Social Contract”. The first area that will be covered is what Rousseau thinks is the state of nature. This will then be followed by what he believes is the social contract that humans enter to live in normal society or civilization. The

“State of nature and social contract”

1636 words - 7 pages Hobbes and Locke are the founders of social contract theory, Hobbes’ Leviathan was the first political philosophy to discuss social contract theory and the state of nature followed by John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, both of their theories are distinct form each other but yet related. Hobbes and lock are both considered the first classical liberals, they differed from other classical philosophers because of their individualistic

Jean-Jacques Rousseau's The Social Contract

3546 words - 14 pages The problem is to find a form of association … in which each, while uniting himself with all, may still obey himself alone, and remain as free as before.’ Does Rousseau have a convincing solution to the problem he poses? The opening line of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's influential work 'The Social Contract' (1762), is 'man is born free, and he is everywhere in chains. Those who think themselves masters of others are indeed greater slaves

Thomas Hobbes and the Social Contract

1634 words - 7 pages Thomas Hobbes was the first philosopher to connect the philosophical commitments to politics. He offers a distinctive definition to what man needs in life which is a successful means to a conclusion. He eloquently defines the social contract of man after defining the intentions of man. This paper will account for why Hobbes felt that man was inherently empowered to preserve life through all means necessary, and how he creates an

Similar Essays

The Practicality Of The Social Contract

2193 words - 9 pages I.) Introduction Society’s structure has been debated and contested as far back as ancient Greece. Since then, man has developed social systems that greatly differ from anything the ancients had in mind. One such system is the social contract theory, which first came to prominence around the time of the enlightenment. Simplified, social contractarians argued that in order to achieve a balanced and stable society, all of its members must

The Radical Nature Of Social Contract Theorists

1668 words - 7 pages Man is increasingly intrigued by human nature and how society functions. Because of this interest, there is a plethora of concepts surrounding man and his condition. The social contract, an agreement among individuals where individuals must sacrifice something for protection, is a cornerstone in the operation of society. Over the years, various social contract theorists have worked to understand the ties that bind man. Karl Marx, Charles Darwin

The Evolution Of Social Behavior Essay

2413 words - 10 pages easier; thus in this instance, man cooperates with other people, in order to meet the selfish motive of self preservation. Whitworth and Whitworth (2010) add that human evolution paralleled social and technical evolutions, and is the reason man started living communally; social evolution dictated that forceful taking of items from other people was wrong, hence the commencement of simple trade. Over millennia, social behavior has evolved, causing

The Evolution Of Social Networking Essay

1531 words - 6 pages Social networking is a phenomenon that has taken the world by storm mostly over the last decade. AOL’s Instant Messenger and other similar programs first allowed people to communicate over the internet, which evolved into social networking sites such as Friendster, MySpace and Facebook and Twitter. This evolution has yielded ever-expanding ways of communicating with people over the internet. No longer is it possible to only send text messages