Chris White trained as an actuary in the 1960s and worked as a consulting actuary and consulting firm manager in Australia and Europe, retiring from full-time work in 1999. After becoming a Christian in 1982, starting from an attempt to get his head around what he’d put his hand up for, he completed a BTheol (MCD, 1995), and then an MA in Christian Ethics (KCL, 2000) and PhD (ANU, 2016). He is particularly interested in the interaction of Christian ethics and economics, business and work, and how Christians understand their faith more broadly than just “church”. Since returning to Australia in 2001 he has taught Christian, professional and business ethics, and is or has been a member of and chaired various boards and committees in church, charitable and commercial contexts. Chris is an active member at St Mark’s Anglican Church, Camberwell (Vic.); he and his wife Ros have five adult children and ten grandchildren.
Description: The objective of this paper is an introduction to the significance of cooperation and competition in Christian ethics vis-à-vis economics and evolutionary biology, specifically as regards the use of Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD) methodology. Both economics and evolutionary biology make use of this methodology, which is based on competitive interactions, but both these disciplinary understandings also produce and/or depend on cooperation for flourishing; the processes involved will be outlined. By contrast, a Christian ethical vision of flourishing is argued to be based on cooperation (as well as altruism), generally treating competition as counter-productive. In this context, how Christian ethicists might regard PD as a methodology is discussed.