Prisoners Dilemma

Part of game theory

Person can Cooperate or Compete

  • Cooperate is better for the group
  • Compete is better for individual
  • Tit-for-tat strategy
    • Cooperating the 1st round then copying the opponent’s previous answer for following rounds
    • Polemarchus from The Republic thinks most like this strategy. He believes in helping his friends and hurting his enemies

The Republic

Characters and what they think justice is

  • Cephalus—Speak the truth and pay your debts
  • Polemarchus—Help your friends and hurt your enemies
  • Thrasymachus—Help the strong and justice is not important
  • Glaucon—Something is not good in itself but is good for something else (Chemotherapy)
  • Socrates—A just person uses his conscience to rule the soul and be at peace
  • Adeimantus

3 ways for something to be good

  1. Good-in-itself but not good for something else (Pleasure)
  2. Not good-in-itself but good for something else (Chemotherapy)
  3. Good-in-itself and good for something else (Happiness and being healthy)

Something that does not involve a moral decision (Which vegetable to eat for dinner)

Something that goes against morals (Cheating)

3 Main Approaches to Ethics in Western Philosophy

  1. Deontology (reasons why I act)
    • Duties and principles behind actions
    • Divine Command Theroy
  2. Consequentialism (outcomes of act)
    • Utilitarianism
    • Ethical Egoism
  3. Virtue Ethics (who should I be)

Divine Command Theory

  1. Some way to unambiguously know the will of God
  2. Main reason why I act is because it's the will of God

Believe in a God that has rule over them

Usually from Judaism, Christianity or Islam

Problem with this thinking is that people do not know what God says 100% of the time.

Ethical Egoism
Do what is good for you, no matter what it does to someone else


Maximum benefit for the good of society


  • People governed by pain and pleasure
  • Amount of pleasure can be calculated using the Hedonic Calculus
  • 3 Requirements of Punishment
    • Has to be intentional
    • Has to take something away from you or harm you
    • Has to be done because of something you did or everyone thinks you did


  • Focused on quality of happiness

Descriptive Claims - claims about the way the world is
Prescriptive Claims claims about the way the world ought to be
Naturalistic Fallacy - confusing is's & ought's
Deterrence harming one individual to scare everyone else or teach everyone a lesson
Ideology refers to all the ideas we use to structure the world

*Utilitarianism can explain how people reach their everyday moral conclusions because it
is an wthical theory that focuses on harm and benefit or happiness and unhappiness to
morally significant beings.
*An action is morally bad if it harms someone, whereas it is morally good if it helps or
benefits someone.
*Ethical theories that claim that good and evil are related to consequences or results are
called consequentialist theories… Utilitarianism is a consequencialist ethical theory that
provides a means to evaluate actions.
*Betham and Mill thought that pleasure was the essential component of happiness.

*Strengths of Utilitarianism:
1. A clear content for ethics
2. Responding tothe situationof the agent
3. Consistency with the basic objective of human beings

*Weaknesses of Uitilitarianism:
1. Doing the calculations
2. Results Contrary to Moral Intuitions
3. Moral Luck

  • Utilitarianism- Best result for everyone
  • Ethical Egoism- Best result for yourself
  • Hedonism- going for most pleasure and least pain
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