Grand Challenges in Social Physics: In Pursuit of Moral Behavior
Methods of statistical physics have proven valuable for studying the evolution of cooperation in social dilemma games. However, recent empirical research shows that cooperative behavior in social dilemmas is only one kind of a more general class of behavior, namely moral behavior, which includes reciprocity, respecting others’ property, honesty, equity, efficiency, as well as many others. Inspired by these experimental works, we here open up the path toward studying other forms of moral behavior with methods
of statistical physics.
We argue that this is a far-reaching direction for future research that can help us answer fundamental questions about human sociality. Why did our societies evolve as they did? What moral principles are more likely to emerge? What happens when different moral principles clash? Can we predict the break out of moral conflicts in advance and contribute to their solution? These are amongst the most important questions of our time, and methods of statistical physics could lead to new insights and contribute toward finding answers.
M. Perc, V. Capraro, Grand Challenges in Social Physics: In Pursuit of Moral Behavior, Front. Phys. (2018)