Re: poly: Science News on conditional cooperation

From: david friedman <>
Date: Mon Apr 20 1998 - 23:35:30 PDT

At 12:37 PM -0700 4/8/98, Hal Finney wrote:
>It is suggested that notions of "fairness" evolve in societies in which
>there are many interactions with strangers, and that these principles
>guide behavior in such experiments. One theorist, David Sloan Wilson,
>is characterized as believing that people evolve genetic traits geared
>towards the interests of groups and not just individuals, a controversial

I don't think you need group selection--merely observable utility
functions. If people know that I am the sort of person who will turn down a
low offer they have an incentive to give me a larger share of the pie in a
bilateral monopoly game. The experiment may be a one shot game, but life

I don't think observable utility functions are all that much of a stretch.
After all, each of us is giving a continuous narrative on what he is
thinking in the form of voice tones, facial expressions, etc. In order to
be a successful hypocrite you have to run two processes in real time--one
your real calculations, one what you would be thinking if you were the
person you are pretending to be. It isn't impossible, but doing it well is

David Friedman
Professor of Law
Santa Clara University
Received on Tue Apr 21 05:40:58 1998

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