The London School of Economics and Political Science announces that the 1999 Lakatos Award, of £10,000 for an outstanding contribution to the philosophy of science, goes to:



Brian Skyrms (University of California, Irvine), for his book Evolution of the Social Contract (Cambridge University Press, 1996).


In this highly readable book, Brian Skyrms, a recognized authority on game and decision theory, investigates traditional problems of the social contract in terms of evolutionary dynamics. Game theory is skillfully employed to offer new interpretations of a wide variety of social phenomena, including justice, mutual aid, commitment, convention and meaning. The book is not technical and requires no special background knowledge. As such, it could be enjoyed by students and professionals in a wide range of disciplines: political science, philosophy, decision theory, economics and biology.

Lakatos Award Lecture

31 May 2000

Evolution of the Social Contract

The general claim is that situations in which many human agents seem to act ‘fairly’ rather than in accordance with their own rational self-interest can be modelled using (cultural) evolutionary dynamics.  The lecture fleshed out this general claim with detailed and insightful analysis of particular cases.