What is the equilibrium, if any, in the state of nature?

Happy Kwanzaa! I am now resuming my in-depth review of Robert Nozick’s “Anarchy, State, and Utopia”, so let’s pick up where we left off: with Chapter 6. That chapter has six subsections, and the post below — part 32 overall of my epic review — covers the first subsection of Ch. 6, where Nozick models the state of nature as a Prisoner’s Dilemma.

prior probability

We almost considered skipping Chapter 6 of Anarchy, State, and Utopia, since Nozick himself invites his readers to do so on p. 120: “The reader who wishes to pursue the main flow of our argument may proceed directly to the next chapter.” But as we have noted in so many of our previous posts, Nozick has left too many issues open and ends untied thus far, problems that he promises to tackle in Chapter 6. In addition, Nozick raises two excellent questions in the first subsection of Chapter 6 (pp. 120-125). First, Nozick asks what equilibrium is most likely to occur in a state of nature? To this end, he models the state of nature as a Prisoner’s Dilemma (see example below). According to Nozick, there are four possibilities in all:

Option A: You can join a protection association and allow your neighbors to join one.

Option B

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About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
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