The Prisoner's Dilemma

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Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHIL 160
Professor
Christopher Meacham

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Prisoner's Dilemmas • The Prisoner's Dilemma:  • You: 1 Confess 1 2 They:  3 They: Not  Confess Confess 4 You: Confess 5 Y: 5yr jail 7 Y:1 6 T: 5yrs 8 T: 10 yrs 9 You: Not  10 Y: 10 12 Y: 2 yrs Confess 11 T:1 13 T: 2 yrs 2 Not Confess 1 • Should you confess or should you not confess? • The rationally self­interested thing to do is confess. 1 You have no control over what the other person does 2 No matter what they do, you'll get half as much time in jail if you confess and  they don't. 1 Five years instead of ten 2 You get 1 year instead of two • If you both confess, you'll both end up spending five years in prison • If neither of you confess, you might be better off than if you both confess­ each get two  years instead of five • In doing the thing that is rationally self­interested, you both end up worse off Ex) Cold war in the US and the USSR                                                                                           USSR Arm Not Arm U.S. Arm Costly Race We take over U.S. Not Arm They take over Peaceful coexistence • • The self­interested thing to do would be to arm Ex) Littering They Litter They Not Litter You Litter Lazy; Ugly (trash everywhere)  Lazy and Pretty You Not Litter Conscientious Work and Ugly Work and Pretty • Rational thing for you to do is to litter • Rational thing for everybody else to do is litter • If both parties do this, everything is worse off Maxim: "I will [x=litter] when [y=it's convenient] in order to [z=better enjoy my day].  • Is it morally permissible to litter in accordance to this maxim? • Everyone will litter in order to better enjoy their day. • image what the world would be like if this were a natural law of the universe? 1  Test  Does doing X and Y still accomplish goal Z? 1 Yes. Because you can be lazy 2  Test  Does it in general make it so people are enjoying their days more? 1 No. It is morally impermissible to act in accordance with this maxim. Fixing Kant •  Problems 1 & 2   ◦ Problem 1: Consistent Evils "I will kill jews whenever I am able in order to rid the world of jews." ◦ Problem 2: Inconsistent Trivialities Things seem trivial­ that they are fine to do, like taking the back road in order to avoid  travel.  ◦ Problem 3: Sly Universalizer Pack as much info ab
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