The Evolution of Autonomy: A Game-Theoretic Argument

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In this paper, we present a game-theoretic argument that humans evolved to cooperate among large groups of genetically unrelated individuals and to have preferences for an egalitarian distribution of surplus because they evolved into autonomous agents. We take as our understanding of autonomy what both Rousseau and Kant meant, namely that autonomy is obedience to a law that one has prescribed to oneself. The models we use for our argument are one of three types of models that have recently been introduced into game theory as a way of understanding Kantian morality. The other two occur in Roemer (2010, 2015, 2019), and Alger and Weibull ((2013, 2016). The approach we adopt appears in Studtmann and Gouri-Suresh (2021).
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First archival date: 2021-08-16
Latest version: 4 (2021-08-24)
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