Strategic Justice

Strategic Justice : Convention and Problems of Balancing Divergent Interests

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In Strategic Justice, Peter Vanderschraaf argues that justice can be properly understood as a body of special social conventions. The idea that justice is at bottom conventional has ancient roots, but has never been central in philosophy because convention itself has historically been so poorly understood. Vanderschraaf gives a new defense of this idea that integrates insights and arguments of past masters of moral and political philosophy together with recent
analytical and empirical concepts and results from the social sciences. One of the substantial contributions of this work is a new account of convention that is sufficiently general for summarizing problems of justice, the social interactions where the interests of the agents involved diverge. Conventions
are defined as equilibrium solutions to the games that summarize social interactions having a variety of possible stable resolutions and a corresponding plurality of equilibria. The basic idea that justice consists of a system of rules for mutual advantage is explored in depth using this game-theoretic analysis of convention. Justice is analyzed as a system of conventions that are stable with respect to renegotiation in the face of societal changes such as resource depletion, technological
innovation and population decline or growth. This new account of justice-as-convention explains in a cogent and natural way what justice is and why individuals have good reason to obey its requirements. Contrary to what many have thought, this new account shows how the justice-as-convention view can give
a good account of why justice requires that the most vulnerable members of society receive protections and benefits from the cooperative surplus created by general compliance with justice.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 416 pages
  • 165 x 242 x 34mm | 684g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0199832196
  • 9780199832194
  • 2,802,440

Table of contents

Chapter 1. Dilemmas of Interaction
Chapter 2. Coordination, Conflict and Convention
Chapter 3. The Circumstances of Justice
Chapter 4. The Dynamics of Anarchy
Chapter 5. Playing Fair
Chapter 6. A Limited Leviathan
Chapter 7. The Foole, the Shepherd and the Knave
Chapter 8. Justice as Mutual Advantage?
Appendix 1. Formal Definition of Convention
Appendix 2. Computer Simulations of Inductive Learning in Games
Appendix 3. Folk Theorems for the Indefinitely Repeated Covenant Game
Appendix 4. Humean Conventions of the Repeated Sovereignty and Repeated Provider-Recipient Gamed
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Review quote

Vanderschraaf sets out to develop an account of justice-as-convention, which is a form of justice-as-mutual-advantage. He certainly achieves this: the book provides a coherent and admirable account of why it is that rational agents might find it in their interest to share resources in an egalitarian fashion ... [this] is an important and impressive contribution to the literature on justice. * Lina Eriksson, Economics & Philosophy * For twenty years, Peter Vanderschraaf has been writing important papers about conventions. His new book, Strategic Justice, synthesises this body of work and displays his ability to write both as a scholarly philosopher and as a rigorous game theorist. * Robert Sugden, Revue des livres *
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About Peter Vanderschraaf

Peter P. Vanderschraaf is Professor of Philosophy at the Department of Political Economy and Moral Science at the University of Arizona. He works in social philosophy and game theory. He has held visiting appointments at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Boston University, and the School of Social Sciences of the Institute for Advanced Study.
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