RE: virus: The Prisoner's Dilemma

Deron Stewart (
Thu, 18 Feb 1999 09:21:35 -0800

>Deron Stewart :
>>In the case of the P.D. one of the implicitly held beliefs is "acting
>>rationally is always best". This has been seriously called into question
>>game theory (I won't attempt to justify that statement right now so it's
>>"out" for anyone who wants to take it). Logic remains intact. Reason is

David McFadzean:
>I take a very different lesson from the P.D. I think it shows that the
>rationality of a given action changes with the context of the situation.
>Something that seems rational in a limited view may be irrational
>when seen from a different (wider/higher/larger) perspective, which
>is why vision is a Virian virtue.

I think what you are saying here is that the truly rational person with vision will choose to do what's best from a "big picture" point of view, regardless of what is narrowly "rational" in a given situation. Is that a fair restatement?

If so then I agree completely. (This feels sooooo close to being a breakthrough that I hope I don't drop the ball here...).

I want to posit a hypothetical situation in which every "rational" choice is inferior to some "irrational" choice. (i.e. ignorant and whimsical people are getting higher "payouts" than learned and logical people in this situation. And what's worse is that the more the learned people think about the problem the worse they do!)

Eventually. After a very long time. A few of the learned people figure out that there is no "rational" solution to this particular problem and with the benefit of this larger perspective thay adopt a "non-rational" reaction to this situation which improves their payout.

They give this type of solution a new name to distinguish it from solutions which are "rational" in a simple way, and with great enthusiam they announce this breakthrough to their learned colleagues.

The colleagues then denounce them in the harshest terms...