This fascinating and provocative book presents the fundamentals of two-person game theory, a mathematical approach to understanding human behavior and decision-making, Developed from analysis of games of strategy such as chess, checkers, and Go, game theory has dramatic applications to the entire realm of human events, from politics, economics, and war, to environmental issues, business, social relationships, and even "the game of love." Typically, game theory deals with decisions in conflict situations.
Written by a noted expert in the field, this clear, non-technical volume introduces the theory of games in a way which brings the essentials into focus and keeps them there. In addition to lucid discussions of such standard topics as utilities, strategy, the game tree, and the game matrix, dominating strategy and minimax, negotiated and nonnegotiable games, and solving the two-person zero-sum game, the author includes a discussion of gaming theory, an important link between abstract game theory and an experimentally oriented behavioral science. Specific applications to social science have not been stressed, but the methodological relations between game theory, decision theory, and social science are emphasized throughout.
Although game theory employs a mathematical approach to conflict resolution, the present volume avoids all but the minimum of mathematical notation. Moreover, the reader will find only the mathematics of high school algebra and of very elementary analytic geometry, except for an occasional derivative. The result is an accessible, easy-to-follow treatment that will be welcomed by mathematicians and non-mathematicians alike.
As a result, Rapoport argues that the study of war and peace should be considered a science, just like biology or, for that matter, political science. The same rules of empirical engagement and experimentation should apply. Before we can have a theory of peace, we need a methodology of conflict. Using the writings of thinkers who have made significant contributions to the predominant ideas and ideals of our society, Rapoport weaves together the strands of independent thought and research into a single, thought-provoking work.
After investigating the whys of violence, using ideological, psychological, strategic, and systemic perspective, Rapoport moves to an in-depth analysis of possible varieties of conflict resolution. He explores such mechanisms as mediation, education, and applying the results of scientific research. He documents the impact of ideologies countervailing dominant ones that place obstacles in the way of peacemaking. Rapoport argues that conciliation and game theories can be utilized to replace the concept of winner take all or total victory. The Origins of Violence is a needed contribution to our understanding of warfare, and provides a forward-looking perspective that can be of wide use to each of the policy sciences, starting with military strategy and ending with international development.
Following an introduction to the necessary mathematical notation (mainly set theory), in Part I the author presents basic concepts and models, including levels of game-theoretic analysis, individual and group rationality, the Von Neumann-Morgenstern solution, the Shapley value, the bargaining set, the kernel, restrictions on realignments, games in partition function form, and Harsanyi's bargaining model. In Part II he delves into the theory's social applications, including small markets, large markets, simple games and legislatures, symmetric and quota games, coalitions and power, and more.
This affordable new edition will be welcomed by economists, political scientists, historians, and anyone interested in multilateral negotiations or conflicts, as well as by general readers with an interest in mathematics, logic, or games.