Prisoners Dilemma


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The scenario prisoners dilemma by David Gauthier, suggest that it is always in an individuals best interest to cooperate, even when it means that they will give up some individual freedom. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes your cooperation may end up costing you more than failure to corporate.

According to the prisoners dilemma case, if one prisoner decides to corporate and the other decides to sell out the information the prisoner cooperating will receive a 10 year jail term and therefore suffering greater consequences. This is an indication that in such a scenario, cooperation will exist if all parties act to advance each others interest.

However, this is not always the case in the society. There are selfish individual who would love to advance their own interest at the cost of others. By you giving up your individual freedom in order to advance the interest of such selfish individuals you end up suffering greater consequences.

Sometimes it better to understand ourselves and other people first before we commit ourselves into cooperating with others. In the prisoner dilemma case, if a prisoner gives out the information to the police he faces two consequences; being jailed one year incase the other one remains silent or receiving a jail term of 5 years incase the other one speaks out.

This is better than getting the ten year sentence for remaining silent and the other prisoner giving out information. The key issue is here is whether when you decide to corporate you can trust the other party to also do the same. If you have less trust on the other party then you are better offer advancing your own interest.


Friend (2004) Prisoners Dilemma by David Gauthier, Social Contract Theory, retrieved on February 2, 2011, from


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