The Bounds of Reason: Game Theory and the Unification of the Behavioral Sciences - Revised Edition

Princeton University Press
Free sample

Game theory is central to understanding human behavior and relevant to all of the behavioral sciences—from biology and economics, to anthropology and political science. However, as The Bounds of Reason demonstrates, game theory alone cannot fully explain human behavior and should instead complement other key concepts championed by the behavioral disciplines. Herbert Gintis shows that just as game theory without broader social theory is merely technical bravado, so social theory without game theory is a handicapped enterprise. This edition has been thoroughly revised and updated.

Reinvigorating game theory, The Bounds of Reason offers innovative thinking for the behavioral sciences.

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About the author

Herbert Gintis holds faculty positions at the Santa Fe Institute and Central European University. He is the author of Game Theory Evolving (Princeton), coauthor of A Cooperative Species: Human Reciprocity and Its Evolution with Samuel Bowles (Princeton), and the coeditor of numerous books, including Moral Sentiments and Material Interests, Unequal Chances (Princeton), and Foundations of Human Sociality.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Mar 30, 2014
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9781400851348
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economics / General
Mathematics / Game Theory
Philosophy / General
Psychology / General
Psychology / Social Psychology
Social Science / General
Social Science / Research
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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This book was written mainly during the Spring periods of 2008 and 2009, when the ?rst author was visiting Maastricht University. Financial s- port both from the Dutch Science Foundation NWO (grants 040. 11. 013 and 0. 40. 11. 082) and from the research institute METEOR (Maastricht Univ- sity) is gratefully acknowledged. Jerusalem Bezalel Peleg Maastricht Hans Peters April 2010 v Contents Preview to this book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi Part I Representations of constitutions 1 Introduction to Part I. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 1. 1 Motivation and summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 1. 2 Arrow’s constitution. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 1. 3 Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem and its implications. . . . . . . . . 4 1. 4 Ga ̈rdenfors’s model. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 1. 5 Notes and comments. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 2 Constitutions, e?ectivity functions, and game forms . . . . . . 7 2. 1 Motivation and summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 2. 2 Constitutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 2. 3 Constitutions and e?ectivity functions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 2. 4 Game forms and a representation theorem. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 2. 5 Representation and simultaneous exercising of rights. . . . . . . . 19 2. 6 Notes and comments. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 3 Nash consistent representations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 3. 1 Motivation and summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 3. 2 Existence of Nash consistent representations: a general result 22 3. 3 The case of ?nitely many alternatives. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 3. 4 Nash consistent representations of topological e?ectivity functions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 3. 5 Veto functions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 3. 5. 1 Finitely many alternatives. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 3. 5. 2 Topological veto functions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 3. 6 Liberalism and Pareto optimality of Nash equilibria. . . . . . . . . 40 3. 7 Notes and comments. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 vii viii Contents 4 Acceptable representations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 4. 1 Motivation and summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A groundbreaking new synthesis and theory of social institutions

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.

A richly transdisciplinary account of some fundamental characteristics of human societies and behavior

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.

This comprehensive textbook introduces readers to the principal ideas and applications of game theory, in a style that combines rigor with accessibility. Steven Tadelis begins with a concise description of rational decision making, and goes on to discuss strategic and extensive form games with complete information, Bayesian games, and extensive form games with imperfect information. He covers a host of topics, including multistage and repeated games, bargaining theory, auctions, rent-seeking games, mechanism design, signaling games, reputation building, and information transmission games. Unlike other books on game theory, this one begins with the idea of rationality and explores its implications for multiperson decision problems through concepts like dominated strategies and rationalizability. Only then does it present the subject of Nash equilibrium and its derivatives.

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.


Introduces the core ideas and applications of game theory
Covers static and dynamic games, with complete and incomplete information
Features a variety of examples, applications, and exercises
Topics include repeated games, bargaining, auctions, signaling, reputation, and information transmission
Ideal for advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate students
Complete solutions available to teachers and selected solutions available to students
"The best book available for non-mathematicians." — Contemporary Psychology.
This book represents the earliest clear, detailed, precise exposition of the central ideas and results of game theory and related decision-making models — unencumbered by technical mathematical details. It offers a comprehensive, time-tested conceptual introduction, with a social science orientation, to a complex of ideas related to game theory including decision theory, modern utility theory, the theory of statistical decisions, and the theory of social welfare functions.
The first three chapters provide a general introduction to the theory of games including utility theory. Chapter 4 treats two-person, zero-sum games. Chapters 5 and 6 treat two-person, nonzero-sum games and concepts developed in an attempt to meet some of the deficiencies in the von Neumann-Morgenstern theory. Chapters 7–12 treat n-person games beginning with the von Neumann-Morgenstern theory and reaching into many newer developments. The last two chapters, 13 and 14, discuss individual and group decision making. Eight helpful appendixes present proofs of the famous minimax theorem, several geometric interpretations of two-person zero-sum games, solution procedures, infinite games, sequential compounding of games, and linear programming.
Thought-provoking and clearly expressed, Games and Decisions: Introduction and Critical Survey is designed for the non-mathematician and requires no advanced mathematical training. It will be welcomed by economists concerned with economic theory, political scientists and sociologists dealing with conflict of interest, experimental psychologists studying decision making, management scientists, philosophers, statisticians, and a wide range of other decision-makers. It will likewise be indispensable for students in courses in the mathematical theory of games and linear programming.
Since its original publication in 2000, Game Theory Evolving has been considered the best textbook on evolutionary game theory. This completely revised and updated second edition of Game Theory Evolving contains new material and shows students how to apply game theory to model human behavior in ways that reflect the special nature of sociality and individuality. The textbook continues its in-depth look at cooperation in teams, agent-based simulations, experimental economics, the evolution and diffusion of preferences, and the connection between biology and economics.

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.


Revised and updated edition relevant for courses across disciplines
Perfect for graduate and upper-level undergraduate economics courses
Solutions to problems presented throughout
Incorporates instruction in using computational software for complex problem solving
Includes in-depth discussions of agent-based modeling
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