Prisoners Dilemma Essay

1042 words - 4 pages

THE PRISONER'S DILEMMA (I). In the prisoner's dilemma two people have been arrested, the one inmate is called Smith. In this situation the authorities are not interested in the truth but only want to convict someone. An interrogator lays out the consequences for Smith. If Smith does not confess but the other guy confesses against Smith, they will release him and Smith will be put away for ten years. If Smith confesses and the other guy does not Smith will be free. If both men confess, each will receive five years. Still, if neither of the men confesses, there will not be enough evidence to convict either one of them. Each man will be held for one year, and then let go.Smith and the other man are being offered the same deal. One might assume that each man would confess against each other. In this case both men would receive five years and not obtain the minimum possible time spent in jail. If each man looked out for him self both will end up worse off than if they had acted in a more benevolent manner. This is what makes the prisoner's dilemma such a paradoxical situation. Both men will be better of if they look out for each other or rather not look out for themselves.This is a situation that can be used in every day living.. Any time there are peoples' interests that are affected not only by what they do but what other people do, a dilemma may occur. In some situations everyone will end up worse off if they individually pursue their own interests than if they simultaneously do what it not in their own individual interests.(II). If I myself was in the prisoner's dilemma, and my goal is to spend as little time in jail, I would act in an egotistic manner to maximize my freedom. My reasoning, as an egoist, would be to rat out the other guy hoping that he will remain silent. This would create the most ideal situation for myself. I would spend no time in jail and the other guy's situation is not my concern. This is what makes me an egoist, someone who tries to do the best for themselves. This idea of egotism is not necessarily wrong but rather a way of thinking to create the best outcome for yourself.(III). Rachel, in his essay, points out a catch in this line of reasoning. The catch is that if I act in a way to create the best outcome for myself, one would have to assume the other inmate would have the same reasoning. He may also be an egoist and might rat me out in hopes that I would take all the blame and let him get off with his maximum freedom. This shows that in reality that if we both act in an egotistic manner that it is not in our best interest to confess and implicate each other. By doing so we would both receive five years, where only one year each is possible.(IV). The situation with the prisoner's dilemma affects many different aspects of life. Prisoner dilemma-type situations occur...

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