• Fairness

     Doctor Anna updated 1 month, 2 weeks ago 4 Members · 6 Posts
  • Doctor Anna

    March 1, 2021 at 00:09

    Unfortunately, some people are seriously deficient in the fairness domain. A sense of fairness is a personality trait that is evidently not equally distributed, which is one reason there are so many fairness issues surrounding us. Having said that, what is fairness? And why do we care? Why is fairness such a universal preoccupation?

  • Doctor Anna

    March 1, 2021 at 09:57

    Fairness is a tricky concept.

    What is objective fairness?

    I experience different things as “fair” when I’m feeling good compared when I’m feeling cornered or tired. My subjective feeling of fairness is fluctuating a lot. When I like someone I’m more inclined to share more and experience sharing as more fair. When I dislike someone, I don’t want to share and I think the objective fairness is that I get more (insert your rationalization of choice).

    My biases distort and confound me.

    Do what can we do? We can go together as a group and determine what’s fair. But this only works if the group is not prone to populism and strong in/out group dynamics. We also land in a fairness struggle between the group and those not in the group.

    We will never get away from this conundrum, but with education and training in critical thinking, we can reduce the effects of the biases, though never remove them fully.

  • Doctor Anna

    March 1, 2021 at 10:06

    I take it you never shared your toys when you were little ?

    But Yes, fairness is always about our relationships with others, it’s a personal thing. I feel we have constructed societies too large for fairness to be, well, fair. Do you know what i mean?

  • Commander Octopus

    March 1, 2021 at 10:12

    One of the central concepts of fairness would probably be the idea of getting what you deserve once you are dead. This is a very odd concept for any species – the inherent ability not only to be capable of making abstract calculations of possible outcomes from different scenarios, but to even extend those calculations post mortem! Whereas monotheistic individuals may be more prone to delay the righteousness of their actions to the ultimate day when they stand in front of their omnipotent judge (I know there is no logical omnipotence in God as described in the Books), you will find others relying on karma to solve the justice part of fairness…

  • Duncan Hill

    March 1, 2021 at 10:30

    Interesting about why fairness is such a universal preoccupation; It predates humanity. If chimps play the ultimatum game they will throw a strop if they do not get what they perceive as their fair share of rewards.


    Ultimately fairness is going to be a personal perception. The complexity of course is that often people will be unfair towards others if they think they can get away with it. In other cooperative species it is a useful tool to stop exploitation (there is a lot of game theory in evolutionary biology. John Maynard Smith goes over this really well in his introduction of game theory into evolutionary biology:


    Of course there will be a lot of complexity on top of this for humans, but I think that’s a good foundation.

  • Doctor Anna

    March 1, 2021 at 10:53

    Absolutely, I think that game theory as commonly understood is not a tautology, that it suffers from important (albeit very recently discovered) empirical anomalies, and that it is not flexible enough to accommodate all the anomalies in its theoretical framework. In particular it cannot accommodate the existing evidence about reciprocal behaviour in many classic game-theoretic contexts. Having said that, we’re getting into the realms of Kant’s categorical imperative, and the principle of the golden rule, which seems to have a moral precept throughout the ages and religions, along the lines of, do unto others as you would have them do to you. The trouble is, the human species is weird as fuck, and not always predictable, one man’s meat is another man’s poison, so to speak ? forgive me, text isn’t my ideal medium to articulate myself

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