Ethics Decision Theory

The Prisoner's Dilemma

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The 5 Scenarios

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Scenario 4 (Comfortable) Payoff Correlation = +0.50

This scenario lies halfway between Utopia and Neutral with a Payoff Correlation of +0.50.  Agent payoffs within an encounter matrix cell are positively related, but not perfectly so.  A cell with a positive payoff for Self-Agent is likely to have a positive payoff for Other-Agent.  This is still an overly optimistic scenario, but it does allow us to explore more dimensions of ethical choices than do scenarios 2 & 3.  A rational Self-Agent should be able to accumulate gain, and not be forced to do so at the expense of Other-Agent.  This expectation was borne out in the actual simulation - all Agents, even those with dysfunctional strategies, were able to acquire substantial Self-Gain on the average.

Commonwealth was determined equally by Basic Strategy and Reciprocity.  Basic Strategy was the dominating factor for Self-Gain.  Reciprocity was the dominating factor for Other-Gain.  As Commonwealth is the sum of these two Gains, Basic Strategy and Reciprocity jointly determined almost all Commonwealth.

Inherent Good/Bad Will had little effect on Self-Gain, Other-Gain, or Inequality.  Because Self-Gain and Other-Gain were so strongly related, most Encounters yielded little Inequality.

The ranking of Basic Strategies for Self-Gain was:

Because Self-Gain and Other-Gain were so strongly related, the rank order for Other-Gain was exactly the same as for Self-Gain.  Consequently, the rank order for Commonwealth was identical to Self-Gain.

Reciprocity, however, contributed far more to Other-Gain than did Basic Strategy.  And it did so for the reasons discussed in Scenario 1.  In an environment where most encounters resulted in positive Self-Gain, the natural consequence was for Responsive Self-Agents to show Altruism toward Other-Agent.

As was mentioned earlier, most encounters resulted in nearly perfect Equality (near-zero Inequality).  Yet, there was some variation among the Basic Strategies in Equality, their rank listed here:

In the Comfortable environment, there was little variation in Equality, because Self-Agent and Other-Agent tended to gain or lose simultaneously.  In contrast, there was much variation in Commonwealth, as any movement toward Self-Gain amplified Commonwealth by simultaneously increasing Other-Gain.  Correspondingly, in determining Total Ethics, more emphasis was placed on Commonwealth than on Equality.

The rank of Basic Strategies in Total Ethics was: