On Sep 24, the Center for the Philosoph of Freedom will host Hun Chung, UA Postdoctoral Fellow in Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law, as part of the Freedom Center Colloquium Series. The title of his talk is Hobbes' State Of Nature: A Modern Baynesian Game-Theoretic Analysis. (Abstract below.)
Thursday, Sep 24, 12:30-1:45pm, in the Kendrick Room at the Freedom Center, Marshall 280 (right above Paradise Bakery). Feel free to bring lunch.
For further information, please visit the Arizona Freedom Center at http://freedomcenter.arizona.edu/colloquium
Hobbes’s own justification for the existence of governments relies on the assumption that, without a government, our lives in the state of nature would result in a state of war of every man against every man. Many contemporary scholars have tried to explain why universal war is unavoidable in Hobbes’s state of nature by utilizing modern game theory. However, most game-theoretic models that have been presented so far do not accurately capture what Hobbes deems to be the primary cause of conflict in the state of nature – which is uncertainty, rather than people’s egoistic psychology. Any game-theoretic model that does not incorporate uncertainty into the picture is, therefore, I claim, the wrong model. In this paper, I use Bayesian game-theory to show how universal conflict can break-out in the state of nature - even when the majority of the population would strictly prefer to cooperate and seek peace with other people - due to uncertainty about the other person’s type. Along the way, I show that the valuation of one’s own life is one of the central mechanisms that drives Hobbes’s pessimistic conclusion.