The partial cooperation displayed by subjects in the Centipede Game deviates radically from the predictions of traditional game theory. Even standard, infinite population, evolutionary settings have failed to provide an explanation for this behavior. However, recent work in finite population evolutionary models has shown that such settings can produce radically different results from the standard models. This paper examines the evolution of partial cooperation in finite populations. The results reveal a new possible explanation that is not open to the standard models and gives us reason to be cautious when employing these otherwise helpful idealizations.


Originally published in Philosophy of Science, 75 (April 2008) pp. 157–177. DOI: 10.1086/590197


cooperation, game theory, Centipede Game, infinite population, finite population, evolutionary models


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Copyright 2008 by the Philosophy of Science Association

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