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Explaining the Social Contract

Zachary Ernst
The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Vol. 52, No. 1 (Mar., 2001), pp. 1-24
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3541940
Page Count: 24
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Explaining the Social Contract
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Abstract

Brian Skyrms has argued that the evolution of the social contract may be explained using the tools of evolutionary game theory. I show in the first half of this paper that the evolutionary game-theoretic models are often highly sensitive to the specific processes that they are intended to simulate. This sensitivity represents an important robustness failure that complicates Skyrms's project. But I go on to make the positive proposal that we may none the less obtain robust results by simulating the population structures that existed among our evolutionary ancestors. It is by extending the evolutionary models in this way that we should pursue the project of explaining the evolution of the social contract.

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