Re: poly: A Modern Conception of "Natural Law"?

From: <>
Date: Mon Nov 09 1998 - 08:46:42 PST

In a message dated 98-11-09 03:07:05 EST, writes:

>Perhaps we CAN say that a particular legal proposition is invalid as a matter
>of natural law, if it is inconsistent with the values of transparency and
>reciprocity that can be objectively demonstrated through evolutionary game
>simulation, for instance, to be superior guiding principles. The last couple
>of chapters of Ridley's book come very close to making this assertion.

I had more or less the same thought reading Ridley's book. Certainly the
theories of repeated games and evolutionary psychology have implications
for morality. But I'm not sure that it develops a universal theory of
The implications from these evolutionary theories seems to be more on the
lines of "you need to do this to get ahead" rather than "everybody should
do this". If you try to move to society-wide prescriptions, you run into
the old problem that the best self-replicators always take over. If these
evolutionary game theories are widely known, we'll fairly quickly end up
with the genes and memes of those who exploit them best taking over.
If those genes and memes are basically cooperative, as they are now,
well and good; but if vicious genes and memes will do best, they'll still

Broad knowledge of evolutionary games does allow
cooperaters a new way to cooperate (by setting up the game). But to
take advantage of that I'd think we'd need competitive legal systems.
Current laws are decided by human mob psychology; without competition
you can only manipulate, and the vicious competitors can do that,
possibly just as well or even better.
Received on Mon Nov 9 16:50:41 1998

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