The Origins of Fair Play

Ken Binmore

in Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 151, 2006 Lectures

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2007 | ISBN: 9780197264249
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734045 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

The Origins of Fair Play

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This lecture gives a brief overview of an evolutionary theory of fairness. Most of the ideas discussed in the lecture can be found in the book Natural Justice. The lecture begins by determining how and why the norms of fairness evolved, and examines the device of the original position. This device is the stylised form of the common structure underlying all fairness norms. The lecture then looks at the possibility of having justice as fairness, pure foraging societies, and the basics of game theory. Coordination games, reciprocity, the folk theorem, selecting equilibria, and the deep structure of fairness are some of the concepts discussed in detail in this lecture.

Keywords: evolutionary theory of fairness; Natural Justice; norms of fairness; original position; foraging societies; game theory; reciprocity; coordination games; folk theorem; deep structure of fairness

Chapter.  14298 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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