Re: Coordinating Sex Roles

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Mon, 7 Apr 1997 16:24:59 -0700 (PDT)

> Both of these seem like reasonable statements, but neither of them
> are what I claimed!
> Again: A single game can have multiple equilibria, even if the "rules"
> of the game are held constant. The action you want to take given your
> options and preferences typically depends on what actions you think
> other people will take. There can be more than one set of
> self-consistent and mutually-reinforcing expectations. So I advocate
> that we discuss our expectations and desires regarding sex role
> actions, so that we can reach *some* equilibria between them.
> Robin D. Hanson

OK, let me see if I can understand your point in my terms. (1) A simple
game can have multiple equilibria, at equal or different payoff levels.
Agreed, from basic game theory. (2) We would prefer to find such a local
maximum which is also one of the global maxima. (3) There are legitimate
reasons to suspect that the /actual/ behaviors and expectations of others,
as distinguished from game theory's usual assumption of perfection, may
have a great effect on one's ability to reach the desired equilibrium, and
it is therefore advisable to learn about them. (4) Especially where there
are multiple global maxima, your perfectly rational choice to pursue a
particular one may be a sub-optimal strategy if you have good reason to
believe the majority of your opponents pursue a different one. (5) A
society stuck at one of the sub-optimal local maxima may be highly
resistant to the changes necessary to bring it to a better state, so it
is a good idea to learn to recognize that situation.

Is that better? Even given that my children will be better able to
reason their way to good solutions than I can, it might be worth the
effort to study what we expect the actual behaviors of the society
they grow up in might look like. I don't think I could argue with that,
but I still don't personally find it as interesting or fruitful as
philosophy itself, so I don't understand your surprize at getting less
response than you expected. Each of us has different interests and
different evaluations of worthy goals.

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