• The Prisoner's Dilemma:
1 2 They: 3 They: Not
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
• 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
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
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
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.
• 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
◦ Problem 3: Sly Universalizer
Pack as much info ab