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Tuesday, January 19, 2010 - 2:47amSanction this postReply
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Further Developments

See the section “Prisoner’s Dilemma” (pages 50–59) of Robert Nozick’s The Nature of Rationality, for an original analysis of rational decision in PD situations under various mixes of (i) expected utility principles according to causal decision theory, (ii) expected utility principles according to evidential decision theory, and (iii) a symbolic utility factor of the alternative acts.

Second Edition (2006)
This edition of The Evolution of Cooperation includes an extensive new chapter on cooperation in cancer cells and among terrorist organizations.
Robert Axelrod

Models of Cooperation Based on the Prisoner’s Dilemma and the SNOWDRIFT Game
Michael Doebeli and Christoph Hauert

Cheating Viruses and Game Theory
Paul Turner

Evolutionary Games and Population Dynamics
Josef Hofbauer and Karl Sigmund

Evolutionary Dynamics – Exploring the Equations of Life
Martin Nowak

Evolution of the Social Contract
Brian Skyrms

The Stag Hunt and the Evolution of Social Structure
Brian Skyrms

In Philosophy of Science:
“Stability and Explanatory Significance of Some Simple Evolutionary Models”
Brian Skyrms (1996) (67:94–113)
“Evolution and the Explanation of Meaning”
Simon Huttegger (2007) (74:1–27)

Evolutionary Game Theory
J. McKenzie Alexander (also)

Kevin Zollman

Game Theory, Culture, and Human Nature
Tom Siegfried

(Edited by Stephen Boydstun on 1/19, 2:57am)




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Tuesday, January 19, 2010 - 10:15amSanction this postReply
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Stephen,

I just received this book as a Christmas present from my brother. I think many people have a narrow view of game theory and evolutionary dynamics. There might be a certain amount of evolutionary basis for cooperation and the trader principle after all.

Jim




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Tuesday, January 19, 2010 - 11:00amSanction this postReply
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Evolution requires some form of a replicator. In biology we look at the gene (or genes) or the individual carrying the genes to make evolution work.

Then there is the theory of memes which posits a mimicable behavior (or idea) as the replicator to be picked up in an competitive environment where its properties result in its essence being more heavily replicated than its competitors.

But I would look more to a third kind of mechanism at work in the rise of the Trader principle - reason, volition, and the fact that the Trader principle is a better principle for man to live under.

The first two processes are active components of change - specifically a kind of evolutionary change, but they are operating outside of choice.

It is important to differentiate between an idea that acquires wide-spread adoption in a non-rational fashion, versus an idea that is picked up for its logical qualities by means of volition and reason. This last is the the independent spirit asserting itself as a first cause. A meme (like a catchy tune that sticks in your head) is more like a parasite that hooks a ride with you (and even does some steering) - and is apart from a person's volitional nature.

Thus, I see four, intermingled forces at work shaping the future -that is, being 'causes': The laws of chemistry and physics, biological evolution, memetic evolution, and human volition.

Our personal evolution requires accepting and understanding what we can control within the hand being dealt us by nature (chemistry, physics, biology) and to assert our reason and volition to better our self-interest which would not be as well served by drifting to the tune of memetic adoption of whatever is popular, or whatever we might have formed an earlier emotional bias for that isn't as rational.




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Tuesday, January 19, 2010 - 12:08pmSanction this postReply
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Steve-

That's a good way to frame the argument. Human beings can and do choose lots of things that go against the grain of evolution or society. I think it's important to understand evolution as an behavioral default of what we might do in certain situations if we didn't stop to think about it. Axelrod's book shows that evolutionarily preferred outcomes are much more nuanced than many people believe.

It's also important to understand evolution so that we don't swim upstream against human nature in matters that are morally neutral for us. The more we find ways to "judo" our evolutionary heritage, the more we are able to save volitional focus and energy for those things that really matter to us.

Jim




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Tuesday, January 19, 2010 - 2:12pmSanction this postReply
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Jim,

"...behavioral default of what we might do in certain situations if we didn't stop to think about it..."

Exactly. Good post.

I see them as hierarchies with one inside the other. The physical layer as the foundation, then life, then memes and finally... choice. Notice that each is faster than the one below it in terms of sweeping changes through the population, and that each is more flexible than the one below it, and offers more options.



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Tuesday, January 19, 2010 - 7:19pmSanction this postReply
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Could you then say that is quantum mechanics as expressed in biology?



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Tuesday, January 19, 2010 - 8:36pmSanction this postReply
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Quantum Mechanics? No, not how I'd put it.



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Tuesday, July 2 - 12:39pmSanction this postReply
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Prisoner's Dilemma and Survival of the Fastest
Recent research of Van Dyken et al., reported by Dyani Lewis



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Tuesday, July 2 - 4:59pmSanction this postReply
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Thanks, Stephen!  However ...

Perhaps our own migration out of Africa some 70,000 years ago helped to ensure that we would evolve into the cooperative creatures we are today.


It was a bit more complicated than that.  It seems that "we" left Africa several times ... and returned at least once.  A recent theory is that Melansian Islanders returned to Africa 30,000 years ago, bringing dark skin with them.  And so, also, much of this mathematical modeling is important but irrelevant.

The FCC Auction of 1994, I believe, was carried out according to the theories of John Nash.  But everyone knew that. Ahead of time.

The Phoenecians perfected dumb barter.  They would show up, be recognized, and haul out a bunch of goods.  If the other side left an equitable amount of other stuff, then it was a done deal and they sailed off. If the other pile was not sufficient, the Phoenicians left what was there and waited for more. Then, it becomes like the "Tit of Tat." 

I look to the origin of trade in the sea shells painted with red ochre, strung, and handed over presumably as gifts hundreds of miles from the sea. This seems to have begun in South Africa 30,000 years ago.  Trade as ritual gift exchange continues today, which is at least one reason why both buyer and seller say "Thank you" rather than jeering "Sucker!" at each other even though - as we gloriously explain the operation of market economics - both sides gave up a lesser value for a greater value.

Personally, I think that human relations are more complicated than this.  Jesus taught the value in altruist economics - your throwing bread at me in response to my throwing stones at you -- (and where is the market value in the throwing of stones?)  We can point out the errors in altruism.  However, millions of people disagree with us.  We have to accept that as real - as real to humans as gravity is to matter.  It is only that humans are more complicated than mere matter.  So, some of us are gloriously selfish and revel in our self-interest.... others, not so much...

Just sayin' it's complicated.

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 7/02, 5:10pm)




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Tuesday, July 2 - 7:49pmSanction this postReply
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Thanks, Stephen.

Mike made good points, even many with which I would agree. Having strong interest in the matter, I have detailed criticism. Lewis' reporting on the Van Dyken study shows that either the researchers made some questionable assumptions, or perhaps she did in reporting on the study. The 2 assumptions are that:

1) there is a risk/cost to cooperation (e.g., to production and free trade) which supposedly exceeds the risk/cost to defection (e.g., to robbery and swindle) -- thereby leading the researchers to act in order to hamper the health of the "cooperating" yeast cells.
2) in the real world, defectors are not usually -- or are not ever -- completely dependent on cooperators.

But in (1) it's a hard sell to a capitalist to tell him that producing values and freely trading them is more risky or more costly than defecting. To teach yourself the truth of that in just 24 hours, trying defecting against everyone while going throughout your whole day. You may ruin relationships forever doing that. Just one day of action, and a lifetime of lost value. That's a lot of risk and cost. It is hard to believe that the production and trade of values could be more risky or costly than that.

Also, in (2), you can make an argument that even partial defectors are completely dependent on cooperators. If you envision a group of defectors, even of partial defectors, you can see how they quickly run out of victims -- leaving them helpless to deal with the world and to afford all of the things required for basic needs. This would be true even of people who traded (cooperated) 10% of the time but defected (robbed or swindled) the other 90% of the time. Even though they weren't completely defectors, they would be completely dependent on the existence of cooperators in the world.

You could not start out by carving a beast (in Fred's terminology) if you never first utilized capitalism in order to build up the beast in the first place. This harkens back to Schumpeter, who claimed that a whole lot of capitalism (i.e., cooperation) will eventually lead to socialism -- presumably as everyone gets rich and begins to embark on a lifestyle of self-entitled envy.

Ed




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Wednesday, July 3 - 10:08amSanction this postReply
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I imagine the findings of ways in which cooperation can be advantageous to colonies of yeast and their kind in certain circumstances could have had some significant input into how species such as ours became so cooperative as they are. Lewis’ speculation was that our species of 70,000 years ago may have acquired cooperative natures due to the game principles shown for the yeast colonies. As of 25,000 years ago, I imagine much more rationality concerning when to cooperate and when not was available to our species, and that could, as Michael and Ed have indicated, trump any cooperativeness in our natures instilled by evolution according to those game principles shown for yeast.

That we take into account game outcomes, shown in theory or experimentally, in our rational strategies remains good sense, I would add.




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Thursday, July 4 - 10:22amSanction this postReply
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Stephen, Fred Bartlett has touted Wolfram's New Kind of Science.  His major premise is that simple conditions can lead to complex outcomes, thus, no "explanation" for evolution - either of life or matter - is needed. Complexity is inevitable.  So, your citations to the yeasts, etc., are interesting in that they do suggest a basic foundation to our own actions. 

We had a wasp fly in this morning.  We caught it and threw it back outside where it would be happier, granted that "happiness" is not within its epistemological range.  We certainly were happier: no wasp; no dead wasp: win-win.

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 7/04, 10:24am)




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Thursday, July 4 - 10:47amSanction this postReply
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Cooperation for sure is advantageous; but cooperation implies free association.

Without free association, there is no cooperation; only submission.

"Cooperation" is anathema to "forced association."

Forcefully mix a colony of yeast with a bowl of Clorox; no cooperation is possible.

Or, forcefully mix a colony of yeast with an arbitrary anything else. Maybe bread will result, maybe not.


Now, add to that dynamic mankind and intelligence and awareness and consciousness... and try to force mankind to "cooperate."

Sign ze papers, Old Man...


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVLDJHMGcQ8

Not the same dynamic under free and forced association. One is cooperation, the other is subjugation...which when you think of it, is a little like forced conjugation (forcefully making we and they out of you and I...)

regards,
Fred



Post 13

Thursday, July 4 - 4:16pmSanction this postReply
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Mike and Fred,

Stephen's got a good point. The study of primitive cooperation -- such as that modeled imperfectly by yeast cells -- can shed some kind of a light on either how we cooperate, or what kind of limits or pressures exist which may mitigate or hamper human cooperation. The trick is not to overgeneralize. With each new study, you can say: What, if anything, does this teach me about cooperation/markets?

Ed




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Friday, July 5 - 7:22amSanction this postReply
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Ed:

No doubt. What works, works. Including, forms of cooperation in context. Mankind forms cooperative efforts in many contexts, spontaneously, driven by no other force other than 'what works, works.'

My point about free vs forced association extends to that as well; we cannot 'force' what works based only on our whims and wishes and desires and druthers.

That is the constructivist's folly, so widepsread it should be called Constructivist Folly. (Constructivist: builder of "S"ociety as if mankind were Tinker-Toys.)

More general than 'Marxist,' a specific instance of a constructivist.

regards,
Fred



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Friday, July 5 - 7:44pmSanction this postReply
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Fair enough, Fred.

:-)

Ed




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Sunday, August 4 - 3:46amSanction this postReply
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New results for probablistic exploitive strategies in iterated prisoner’s dilemma in evolutionary settings:

Evolutionary Instability of Zero-Determinant Strategies
Christoph Adami and Arend Hintze
Nature Communications 8/1/13




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