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The Prisoners Dilemma A Stepping-Stone To The Refutation Of Pure Self-Interest And A Guide To Political And Moral Obligation The prisoners dilemma is a well-known example in moral philosophy that characterizes some of the difficulties that arise when studying moral and justice theory Throughout this paper it will be used as the vehicle to go from the different ideas of morality and justice The purpose of this journey is to reach a refutation of pure self-interest as proposed by Thomas Hobbes as the guiding principle in considering the morality of actions Thus this paper will touch on almost all of the different areas covered during the course of the semester and hopes to bind many of them together in a meaningful way The prisoners dilemma operates in the following manner Two prisoners who cooperated in a crime together are brought before an attorney general one after the other so that each is unable to learn of the events that take place with their partner They are told that if they confess to their crimes ie turn their partner in they themselves will be allowed to walk free while their partner will spend ten years in jail This is only true however if it is just one of the prisoners who confesses if both confess then they will each have to spend five years in jail Finally the third alternative if neither of the prisoners confesses is that each will spend one year in jail Taking the problem from a strictly individualistic and self-interested point of view the solution seems deceptively obvious to confess In this way you the hypothetical prisoner are assured of going free which is something that you would want However the problem is not nearly as simple as this because there is still the factor of the other prisoner to consider Obviously he would also choose to confess as it would be in his own best interest as well But
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