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Social Philosophy Today

Volume 17, 2001

Communication, Conflict, and Reconciliation

Lou Marinoff
Pages 69-90

The Geometry of Defection
Cascading Mimicry and Contract-Resistant Structures

This paper examines a social contractarian model in which an actor cooperates by mimicry; that is, cooperates just in case there is majority cooperation in his or her vicinity. A computer simulation is developed to study the relation between initial and final proportions of such cooperators, as wel l as to chart the population dynamics themselves. The model turns out to be non-linear; item bodies a quintessentially chaotic threshold. The simulation also yields other unforeseen results, revealing a "geometry of delection" that unites delecting cells into robust molecular formations which persist with in overall cooperative domains, or which under certain conditions undermine cooperativeness entirely. The model thus sheds so me light on the structura l dimension of mimicry that underlies social communication, conflict and its resolution.

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