Re: Ethics

Felix Ungman (
14 Jul 98 20:29:26 +0200

Reply to: Re: Ethics
Daniel Fabulich wrote:
>If egoism is rational, then it is rational for both players; yet egoism
>would demand suboptimal consequences according to its own value system:
>the egoistic players find themselves worse off than they would have been

Not true, if you would keep silent and I would defect, you would be even worse off than if we both defect. Now, would you you really trust me to keep silent? Just tell me, and I'd be delighted to play :-)

>If we agree that rationality, at least in part, involves doing
>what is necessary in order to get the optimal consequences (where the
>"optimal" consequences is determined by one's value system) then egoism
>dictates that the way to fulfill the ends of egoism is to reject egoism;
>in other words, it is *not* rational to be an egoist, because it leaves
>the players worse off than it would be had they been utilitarians.

You're using the word "egoism" in a very simplistic manner here. In the real world, the payoff function is a very complex relationship, that includes most of the people that you know and even many that you don't (in most cases indistinguishable from a utilitarian one). On the other hand, if you're a Utilitarian, you're forcing someone else's payoff function on me. It's a nice offer, but I think I'll pass.