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


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.