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Volume 35, 2018

The Joint Commitment Account

Paul Weirich
Pages 197-214
DOI: 10.5840/protosociology20183511

Coordination and Hyperrationality

Margaret Gilbert (1990) argues that although the rationality of the agents in a standard coordination problem does not suffice for their coordination, a social convention of coordination, understood as the agents’ joint acceptance of a principle requiring their coordination, does the job. Gilbert’s argument targets agents rational in the game-theoretic sense, which following Sobel (1994: Chap. 14), I call hyperrational agents. I agree that hyperrational agents may fail to coordinate in some cases despite the obvious benefits of coordination. However, I add that fully rational agents, who rationally exercise rationality’s permissions, may coordinate in these cases without jointly accepting a principle of coordination. I make this point using a model that adopts common simplifying assumptions about agents and their coordination problems.

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