Universalizing and the we: endogenous game theoretic deontology

Economics and Philosophy 37 (2):244-259 (2020)
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The Nash counterfactual considers the question: what would happen were I to change my behaviour assuming no one else does. By contrast, the Kantian counterfactual considers the question: what would happen were everyone to deviate from some behaviour. We present a model that endogenizes the decision to engage in this type of Kantian reasoning. Autonomous agents using this moral framework receive psychic payoffs equivalent to the cooperate-cooperate payoff in Prisoner’s Dilemma regardless of the other player’s action. Moreover, if both interacting agents play Prisoner’s Dilemma using this moral framework, their material outcomes are a Pareto improvement over the Nash equilibrium.

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Paul Studtmann
Davidson College


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