Reinvigorating game theory, The Bounds of Reason offers innovative thinking for the behavioral sciences.
In social science and philosophy, both issues have been intensively discussed and new versions of the dispute have appeared just as new arguments have been advanced. At present, the individualism/holism debate is extremely lively and this book reflects the major positions and perspectives within the debate. This volume is also relevant to debates about two closely related issues in social science: the micro-macro debate and the agency-structure debate.
This book presents contributions from key figures in both social science and philosophy, in the first such collection on this topic to be published since the 1970s.
Understanding Institutions proposes a new unified theory of social institutions that combines the best insights of philosophers and social scientists who have written on this topic. Francesco Guala presents a theory that combines the features of three influential views of institutions: as equilibria of strategic games, as regulative rules, and as constitutive rules.
Guala explains key institutions like money, private property, and marriage, and develops a much-needed unification of equilibrium- and rules-based approaches. Although he uses game theory concepts, the theory is presented in a simple, clear style that is accessible to a wide audience of scholars working in different fields. Outlining and discussing various implications of the unified theory, Guala addresses venerable issues such as reflexivity, realism, Verstehen, and fallibilism in the social sciences. He also critically analyses the theory of "looping effects" and "interactive kinds" defended by Ian Hacking, and asks whether it is possible to draw a demarcation between social and natural science using the criteria of causal and ontological dependence. Focusing on current debates about the definition of marriage, Guala shows how these abstract philosophical issues have important practical and political consequences.
Moving beyond specific cases to general models and principles, Understanding Institutions offers new perspectives on what institutions are, how they work, and what they can do for us.
In this book, acclaimed economist Herbert Gintis ranges widely across many fields—including economics, psychology, anthropology, sociology, moral philosophy, and biology—to provide a rigorous transdisciplinary explanation of some fundamental characteristics of human societies and social behavior. Because such behavior can be understood only through transdisciplinary research, Gintis argues, Individuality and Entanglement advances the effort to unify the behavioral sciences by developing a shared analytical framework—one that bridges research on gene-culture coevolution, the rational-actor model, game theory, and complexity theory. At the same time, the book persuasively demonstrates the rich possibilities of such transdisciplinary work.
Everything distinctive about human social life, Gintis argues, flows from the fact that we construct and then play social games. Indeed, society itself is a game with rules, and politics is the arena in which we affirm and change these rules. Individuality is central to our species because the rules do not change through inexorable macrosocial forces. Rather, individuals band together to change the rules. Our minds are also socially entangled, producing behavior that is socially rational, although it violates the standard rules of individually rational choice. Finally, a moral sense is essential for playing games with socially constructed rules. People generally play by the rules, are ashamed when they break the rules, and are offended when others break the rules, even in societies that lack laws, government, and jails.
Throughout the book, Gintis shows that it is only by bringing together the behavioral sciences that such basic aspects of human behavior can be understood.
Game Theory is the ideal textbook for advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate students. Throughout, concepts and methods are explained using real-world examples backed by precise analytic material. The book features many important applications to economics and political science, as well as numerous exercises that focus on how to formalize informal situations and then analyze them.
Recognizing that students learn by doing, the textbook introduces principles through practice. Herbert Gintis exposes students to the techniques and applications of game theory through a wealth of sophisticated and surprisingly fun-to-solve problems involving human and animal behavior. The second edition includes solutions to the problems presented and information related to agent-based modeling. In addition, the textbook incorporates instruction in using mathematical software to solve complex problems. Game Theory Evolving is perfect for graduate and upper-level undergraduate economics students, and is a terrific introduction for ambitious do-it-yourselfers throughout the behavioral sciences.