[LINK] Prisoner’s Dilemma? Not So Much

Hannes Rusch ar­gues that the Pri­soner’s Dilemma is best un­der­stood as merely one game of very many:

only 2 of the 726 com­bi­na­to­ri­ally pos­si­ble strate­gi­cally unique or­di­nal 2x2 games have the detri­men­tal char­ac­ter­is­tics of a PD and that the fre­quency of PD-type games in a space of games with ran­dom pay­offs does not ex­ceed about 3.5%. Although this does not com­pel­lingly im­ply that the rele­vance of PDs is over­es­ti­mated, in the ab­sence of con­ver­gent em­piri­cal in­for­ma­tion about the an­ces­tral hu­man so­cial niche, this find­ing can be in­ter­preted in favour of a rather ne­glected an­swer to the ques­tion of how the found­ing groups of hu­man co­op­er­a­tion them­selves came to co­op­er­ate: Be­havi­oural and/​or psy­cholog­i­cal mechanisms which evolved for other, pos­si­bly more fre­quent, so­cial in­ter­ac­tion situ­a­tions might have been ap­plied to PD-type dilem­mas only later.

http://​​www2.units.it/​​et­ica/​​2013_2/​​RUSCH.pdf