Re: Coordinating Sex Roles

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Sun, 6 Apr 1997 13:44:36 -0700 (PDT)

> Real communities of people who regularly contract with each other have
> lots more mechanisms for coordinating expectations regarding
> unspecified contract details than just "learning to communicate openly
> and deal fairly". Most such communities spend lots of effort to
> socialize new people into the shared community expectations, and often
> have lengthy discussions regarding proposed changes in common norms.

I agree that they do, but that's no indication that it's right. Such
social norms are probably a valuable shortcut to working out what's
honest and fair, but it is the concepts of honesty and fairness that
exist in reality; social norms are merely a matter of consensus, not
reason. If these shortcuts are valuable to everyday life, it might
make some sense to find those that more closely accord with reason,
and I have no reason to oppose such discussion, I just don't find it
particularly interesting or as valuable as laying the foundations for
solid reasoning on which to base it.

> It might help you to think in terms of multiple equilibria in a game
> in game theory. In a game it is important to coordinate each player's
> expectations regarding what others will do with actual action choices.

This is to sneak in the assumption that the rules of the game include
the social norms. In that case, certainly knowing your opponents
available choices and likely coices and payoffs is necessary to win
the game. But the "rules" of the game of life are not constrained by
society, only by the nature of reality. To play a fair game unbound
by the shackles of convention requires learning the rules of reality,
not the rules of society.

Lee Daniel Crocker <>  <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC