Norms as Equilibria
2016-01-01, Lahno, Bernd
This paper presents a survey on contemporary RC accounts of norms. The characteristic common feature of these accounts is that norms are understood as equilibrium selection devices. The most sophisticated positions driven by this idea are Herbert Gintis’ theory of norms as choreographers and Cristina Bicchieri’s theory of norms as solutions to mixed motive games. In order to give a comprehensive account of social norms, though, RC theory needs to be substantially extended. In particular, it seems to be impossible in principle to fully understand the concept of normativity and the motivating power of norms within a traditional, pure RC framework.
Simple Games of Information Transmission
2012-01-01, Lahno, Bernd
Communication is an inherently strategic matter. This paper introduces simple game theoretic models of information transmission to identify different forms of uncertainty which may pose a problem of trust in testimony. Strategic analysis suggests discriminating between trust in integrity, trust in competence, trust in (the will to invest) effort and trust in honesty. Whereas uncertainty about the sender's honesty or integrity may directly influence a rational receiver's readiness to rely on sender's statements, neither uncertainty about the competence of a sender nor uncertainty about his willingness to invest effort has any direct impact on rational reliance on its own. In this regard, trust in honesty and trust in integrity appear to be more basic than trust in competence or effort.
Rational Choice and Rule-Following Behavior
2007, Lahno, Bernd
While Rational Choice Theory (RC) may be understood as a theory of choice, which does not necessarily reflect actual deliberative processes, rule-following behavior is definitely based on a certain form of deliberation. This article aims at clarifying the relationship between the two. Being guided by instrumental rules, i.e., rules reducible to the maximization principle, is perfectly consistent with the fundamental behavioral assumptions of RC. But human individuals use other forms of rules in decision making, especially tie-breaking rules and coordination rules. It is argued that within RC no satisfying account of such rule-following behavior can be given. In particular it is impossible to determine suitable preference orderings such that coordinating may be understood as maximizing relative to these orderings. Still, once there is coordination, following a coordination rule may be perfectly consistent with the basic assumptions of RC. So there might be a more complex theory of action that incorporates RC as well as a satisfying theory of rule-guided behavior.
Challenging the majority rule in matters of truth
2014-12-01, Lahno, Bernd
The majority rule has caught much attention in recent debate about the aggregation of judgments. But its role in finding the truth is limited. A majority of expert judgments is not necessarily authoritative, even if all experts are equally competent, if they make their judgments independently of each other, and if all the judgments are based on the same source of (good) evidence. In this paper I demonstrate this limitation by presenting a simple counterexample and a related general result. I pave the way for this argument by introducing a Bayesian model of evidence and expert judgment in order to give a precise account of the basic problem.
2009-04-26, Lahno, Bernd
Für moderne Handlungskontexte erweist sich der klassische Verantwortungsbegriff als inadäquat. Ein alternatives Konzept der Verantwortung, das auf der Humeschen Theorie der künstlichen Tugenden basiert, wird entwickelt und an einem einfachen Koordinationsspiel illustriert. Verantwortung wird dabei als das Resultat eines sozialen Zuschreibungsprozesses bestimmt. Menschen, denen Verantwortung zugeschrieben wird, erfüllen eine Funktion als Bezugspunkt sozialer Koordination. Es wird argumentiert, dass eine solche Konzeption gegenüber der klassischen ein feineres und angemesseneres Verständnis des Verhältnisses von kausaler Urheberschaft und Verantwortung vermittelt. Einige Schlussfolgerungen mit Blick auf die Eigenschaften, die Personen in verantwortlichen Positionen haben sollten, werden gezogen. Gefordert sind: Autonomie, Integrität und Kompetenz.
Making Sense of Categorical Imperatives
2006-01-01, Lahno, Bernd
Naturalism, as Binmore understands the term, is characterized by a scientific stance on moral behavior. Binmore claims that a naturalistic account of morality necessarily goes with the conviction “that only hypothetical imperatives make any sense”. In this paper it is argued that this claim is mistaken. First, as Hume’s theory of promising shows, naturalism in the sense of Binmore is very well compatible with acknowledging the importance of categorical imperatives in moral practice. Moreover, second, if Binmore’s own theory of moral practice and its evolution is correct, then the actual moral practice does-and in fact must-incorporate norms, which have the form of a categorical imperative. Categorical imperatives are part of social reality and, therefore, any (normative) moral theory that adequately reflects moral practice must also include categorical imperatives.
Norms as reasons for Action
2009, Lahno, Bernd
Social norms are based on social standards. The relevant standards corne in two forms. Compliance with social standards of évaluation may be understood as goal-oriented behavior under the constraints of external and internai sanctions. Compliance with norms, which directly refer to specific ways of conduct, may not. Therefore, although norm-guided behavior may be consistent with utility maximizing, no satisfying account of norm compli ance can be given within a Rational Choice framework or any other framework solely based on instrumental rationality
Three Aspects of Interpersonal Trust
2004-01-01, Lahno, Bernd
Trust is generally held to have three different dimensions or aspects: a behavioral aspect, a cognitive aspect, and an affective aspect. While t here is hardly any disagreement about trusting behavior, there is some disagreement as to which of the two other aspects is more fundamental. After presenting some of the main ideas concerning the concept of trust as used in the analysis of social cooperation. I will argue that affective aspects of trust must be included in any adequate account of the role of trust in social dilemma situations involving multiple equilibria. Cooperation in such situations requires coordination even though information on what another player might do is not available. A trusting person can handle such problems of cooperation by framing the situation in a way that goes beyond cognitive trust and solves what I shall call the problem of normative consent. I will conclude with some remarks ab out the design of institutions that foster trustful cooperation, especially in the context of the Internet.