Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Game Theory and the HumanitiesBridging Two Worlds$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Steven J. Brams

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262015226

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262015226.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use (for details see www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 19 April 2019

Political Philosophy: How Democracy Resolves Conflict in Difficult Games

Political Philosophy: How Democracy Resolves Conflict in Difficult Games

(p.111) 5 Political Philosophy: How Democracy Resolves Conflict in Difficult Games
Game Theory and the Humanities

Steven J. Brams

The MIT Press

This chapter examines the seemingly simple situation where voters choose between just two alternatives, and the alternative with the most votes wins. The focus is on choices that are costly to implement, such the financing of a public project. The problem is modeled as a two-person Prisoners’ Dilemma (2-person PD), and then as an n-person PD. It shows how voting resolves conflict in the PDs in each case and illustrates the n-person resolution with an example. The chapter also turns to the Hebrew Bible to demonstrate how Moses, after the idolatry of the Israelites at Mount Sinai, effectively conducted a referendum on his leadership, albeit without a formal vote, and identifies the ten difficult 2 × 2 ordinal games, in addition to PD, in which voting induces cooperation. It concludes by pointing out that voting is not a panacea, particularly in developing countries, which often lack a rule-of-law tradition, or countries in which the enforcement of laws is lax or nonexistent.

Keywords:   voting, conflict resolution, democracy, game theory, Prisoners’ Dilemma, cooperation, Moses

MIT Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.