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Are Kant's categorical imperative and instrumental rationality incompatible? The case for the prisoner's dilemma

Brinca, Pedro (2005): Are Kant's categorical imperative and instrumental rationality incompatible? The case for the prisoner's dilemma.

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Abstract

Why is good good and bad bad? Kant's categorical imperative (KCI) and instrumental rationality are analyzed under the game-theoretical framework of the folk theorem. Prescribing different courses of action under the one-shot game, Kant's categorical imperative emerges as instrumentally rational provided that the conditions of the folk theorem are observed and the norms and values underlying KCI are presented as selective advantages of the group of reference in which the individual belongs. Norms and values are argued to be instrumental in nature and KCI and instrumental rationality become two faces of the same coin.

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