Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

Is the prisoner's dilemma metaphor suitable for altruism? Distinguishing self-control and commitment from altruism

Elias L. Khalil a1
a1 Behavioral Research Council, American Institute for Economic Research, Great Barrington, MA 01230 [email protected]


Rachlin basically marshals three reasons behind his unconventional claim that altruism is a subcategory of self-control and that, hence, the prisoner's dilemma is the appropriate metaphor of altruism. I do not find any of the three reasons convincing. Therefore, the prisoner's dilemma metaphor is unsuitable for explaining altruism.