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game theory


Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


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P hilosophy of action, philosophy of social science, ethics, political philosophy The mathematical theory of game-like human situations in which each rational agent strategically acts so as to maximize preferred utility or outcome. However, the realization of this strategy depends on the actions of other players in the same situations, and on the assumption that each of them is equally rational in his or her choices. Each player must take the strategies of other players into account, since it is impossible for all players to maximize simultaneously their preferred utility. A situation which yields such a consequence that no agent can improve his or her position if such an agent unilaterally withdraws from it, is called the Nash equilibrium. Game theory tries to find what the most rational strategy should be in such situations. It was systematically developed by John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern in the 1940s, and has a wide application in the contemporary discussion of moral and political theory. Game theory is a part of decision theory . “Game theory therefore starts with games where initial choices are to be made without prior communication and where any emergent conventions exist without being enforced by any kind of sanc tions.” Hollis, in Bunnin and Tsui-James (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Philosophy ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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