Retributive Justice and Social Cooperation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Based on experiments in social evolution theory and game theory, this chapter argues two points: (a) the success of social groups depends on having punishers, and (b) punishers are supplying a public good, since those who cooperate but do not punish outperform those who cooperate and do punish. If we were simply forward-looking in our reasoning, as in the simple instrumental theory of rationality-if all payoffs are either current or anticipated, and not tied to past action-social cooperation would be a mystery. The chapter shows that for societies to thrive in the presence of noncooperative "free riders," it needs some members who are motivated to punish the free riders without instrumental justification-that is, as a matter of (evolved) sentiment or instinct rather than calculated, rational, utility-maximizing action. This, according to the chapter, accounts for both the existence of retributive "tastes" as well as their importance to social cooperation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRetributivism: Essays on Theory and Policy
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780199895342, 9780199752232
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2011

Fingerprint

justice
instinct
game theory
rationality
experiment
society

Keywords

  • Cooperation
  • Game theory
  • Justice
  • Punishment
  • Rationality
  • Retributivism
  • Sentiment
  • Social evolution
  • Social theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

Gaus, G. F. (2011). Retributive Justice and Social Cooperation. In Retributivism: Essays on Theory and Policy Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199752232.003.0005

Retributive Justice and Social Cooperation. / Gaus, Gerald F.

Retributivism: Essays on Theory and Policy. Oxford University Press, 2011.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Gaus, GF 2011, Retributive Justice and Social Cooperation. in Retributivism: Essays on Theory and Policy. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199752232.003.0005
Gaus GF. Retributive Justice and Social Cooperation. In Retributivism: Essays on Theory and Policy. Oxford University Press. 2011 https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199752232.003.0005
Gaus, Gerald F. / Retributive Justice and Social Cooperation. Retributivism: Essays on Theory and Policy. Oxford University Press, 2011.
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