Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO)
The central question of this proposed research is to map out developments in philosophical ethics since the introduction of a new method of analysis, ?game theory?, which evolved outside of this field, and critically evaluate the apparent success of these developments. Game theory describes situations of interaction between actor by means of mathematical tools. In ethics game theory is being used in an explanatory and in a justificatory way. Game theory serves to explain the function and existence of moral norms, and to help to rationally justify those norms. We attempt to analyse these developments internally, methodologically, but also externally, that is we will also look for socio-psychological factors to help explain the uprise of game theory in ethics. Attention is payed to the question whether certain ethical issues have become ignored or marginalized in the process. To answer the central question of this research four controversies will be examined. One is about the rationality concept that underlies game theory. Does it presuppose certain values, and to what extent is that problematic? Should it presuppose values? The second and third controversies have to with the scope and the status of game theory in ethics. The ambition might be explanation or justification. In what sense does this set different conditions on the adequacy of the theory? What exactly is the role a game-theoretic model plays? The fourth controversy concerns the existence of asymmetrical ethical relations, like care for the mentally handicapped. Can game theory deal with this category of ethical relations or is it beyond its scope?