Suicide as an Evolutionarily Stable Strategy

  • Steven Mascaro
  • Kevin B. Korb
  • Ann E. Nicholson
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2159)


Ethics has traditionally been the domain of philosophers, pursuing their investigations a priori, since social experimentation is not an option. After Axelrod’s work, artificial life (ALife) methods have been applied to social simulation. Here we use an ALife simulation to pursue experiments with ethics. We use a utilitarian model for assessing what is ethical, as it offers a computationally clear means of measuring ethical value, based on the utility of outcomes. We investigate the particular action of altruistic suicide fostering the survival of others, demonstrating that suicide can be an evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS).


Altruism artificial life ethics social simulation evolutionarily stable strategies 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Mascaro
    • 1
  • Kevin B. Korb
    • 1
  • Ann E. Nicholson
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Computer Science and Software EngineeringMonash UniversityAustralia

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