## Moral Calculations: Game Theory, Logic, and Human FrailtyAre people ever rational? Consider this: You auction off a one-dollar bill to the highest bidder, but you set the rules so that the second highest bidder also has to pay the amount of his last bid, even though he gets nothing. Would people ever enter such an auction? Not only do they, but according to Martin Shubik, the game's inventor, the average winning bid (for a dollar, remember) is $3.40. Many winners report that they bid so high only because their opponent "went completely crazy." This game lies at the intersection of three subjects of eternal fascination: human psychology, morality, and John von Neumann's game theory. Hungarian game-theorist Laszlo Mero introduces us to the basics of game theory, including such concepts as zero-sum games, Prisoner's Dilemma and the origins of altruism; shows how game theory is applicable to fields ranging from physics to politics; and explores the role of rational thinking in the context of many different kinds of thinking. This fascinating, urbane book will interest everyone who wonders what mathematics can tell us about the human condition. |

### What people are saying - Write a review

#### Review: Moral Calculations: Game Theory, Logic, and Human Frailty

User Review - Moshe Zadka - GoodreadsI wanted to like this book. Game theory, morality and evolution? Yes, please! But the author's weird forays into group selectionism and weird moral theories were annoying. It's like someone took a great idea, and demolished it. I grieve for the book that could have been. Read full review

#### Review: Moral Calculations: Game Theory, Logic, and Human Frailty

User Review - Moshe Zadka - GoodreadsI wanted to like this book. Game theory, morality and evolution? Yes, please! But the author's weird forays into group selectionism and weird moral theories were annoying. It's like someone took a great idea, and demolished it. I grieve for the book that could have been. Read full review

### Contents

Auction and Posing | 3 |

The Three Critical Points | 4 |

Out of the Party and into the Psych Lab | 5 |

HighStakes Auctions | 8 |

Dollar Auctions in Everyday lilV | 9 |

Dollar Auctions in the Wild | 10 |

Posing for a Random Period | 12 |

The Brute as Hero | 15 |

The Theory of Group Selection | 121 |

The Theory of Gene Selection | 123 |

Competition Between theTwo Theories | 125 |

The Struggle Between Hawks and Doves | 127 |

Rationality in the Selfish Gene Theory | 129 |

Complex Strategies | 132 |

Socialism and Free Enterprise | 135 |

Economics and Evolution | 136 |

Dice and the Common Interest | 17 |

A Martian Humankind | 19 |

The Protagonist Appears | 20 |

Game Theory | 21 |

Pure and Mixed Strategies | 23 |

Optimal Mixed Strategies | 25 |

Who Optimizes and Why? | 26 |

The Prisoners Dilemma | 28 |

Two Logical Solutions | 29 |

On the Nature of Logic | 31 |

Everyday Prisoners Dilemmas | 32 |

Prisoners Dilemmas with Many Persons | 36 |

Iterated Prisoners Dilemmas | 37 |

Axelrods Competitions | 39 |

The Personality Traits of the Programs | 40 |

Tit for Tat in Sticklebacks | 43 |

Psychological Experiments with the Prisoners Dilemma | 44 |

The Significance of Phrasing | 46 |

The Golden Rule | 48 |

Logic and the Golden Rule | 49 |

The Categorical Imperative | 51 |

The Categorical Imperative and Diversity | 53 |

The Gift of the Magi | 55 |

The Basic Forms of TwoPerson Games with Mixed Motivation | 58 |

Chicken | 60 |

Asymmetric Games | 62 |

The Dollar Auction and Ethical Principle | 63 |

Cooperation and Rationality | 65 |

The Bluff | 67 |

The World of Poker | 69 |

A Simple Poker Model | 70 |

The Evolution of the Poker Face | 72 |

The Poker Model Analyzed | 73 |

Bluff Big or Not at All | 76 |

Bluff as a Cognitive Strategy | 77 |

Natures Bluffs | 78 |

The Sources of Diversity | 81 |

John von Neumanns Game Theory | 83 |

The Case of the Schizophrenic Snail | 84 |

The Mathematical Background of von Neumanns Theorem | 87 |

The Principle of Rationality | 88 |

Rational Players | 89 |

The Value of the Game | 91 |

StonePaperScissors | 92 |

Generalizations of von Neumanns Theorem | 95 |

Games with Handicap | 98 |

The Part and the Whole | 100 |

Competition for a Common Goal | 103 |

Purely Cooperative Games | 104 |

Mutual Fate Control | 107 |

Theoretical Considerations | 108 |

Experimental Evidence | 110 |

Asynchronous Decisions | 111 |

The Role of Being Informed | 113 |

The Rationale of Curfews | 114 |

On the Nature of Psychological Laws | 116 |

Cooperation by Competition | 117 |

Hawks and Doves | 119 |

The Invisible Hand | 138 |

Theories of Equilibrium | 140 |

Planned Economies | 142 |

The Diversity of Mixed Economies | 145 |

The Logic of Evolution | 147 |

Games Elementary Particles Play | 150 |

The Dual Nature of Light | 152 |

TwoSlit Experiments | 155 |

If You Ask a Stupid Question | 157 |

Probabilistic Frogs | 160 |

Chance as an Organizing Force | 163 |

Searching for the Grand Unified Theory | 166 |

The Great Game of Nature | 169 |

The Psychology of Rationality | 173 |

Loves Me Loves Me Not | 175 |

Schrodingers Cat | 176 |

Poetic Thoughts | 178 |

The Contingency of Human Concepts | 180 |

StonePlaperScissors Redux | 182 |

The Cheating Innkeeper | 183 |

Quasirationality | 185 |

Plucking Petals | 186 |

Distancing | 189 |

Rational Irrationality | 191 |

Correct Decisions Reached by Inadequate Methods | 192 |

Fortuities of Consciousness | 194 |

The Methods of Rational Decisions | 196 |

Meditative Techniques | 198 |

The Scientific Foundations of Meditative Techniques | 201 |

Ideomotor Techniques | 202 |

Today Thus Tomorrow Otherwise | 203 |

Logic and Intuition | 205 |

Collective Rationality | 208 |

Analysis of the Science 84 Game | 210 |

Outcome of the Million Dollar Game | 212 |

The Hidden Aim of the Game | 214 |

The Hiding Lottery | 216 |

The Smallest Number Wins Game | 219 |

The Means of Collective Rationality | 222 |

The Heterogeneity of Human Thought | 225 |

Logically Isomorphic Tasks | 227 |

On the Role of Rationality | 229 |

Descartess Error | 231 |

Where Does Rationality Reside in Us? | 234 |

Games People Play | 237 |

Further Aspects of Games | 240 |

There Are Many Ways to Nirvana | 242 |

The Nature of Rational Cognition | 244 |

The Nature of Mystical Cognition | 246 |

Rationality as a Technique of Distancing | 249 |

Beyond Rationality | 251 |

The Two Components of Thinking | 253 |

Game as Essence | 254 |

Nirvana | 256 |

261 | |

269 | |

### Common terms and phrases

54 rounds according analogy behavior bluffing bluffs button calculate categorical imperative chance Chapter completely concept confess consciousness considered cooperation decisions develop dollar auction doves economic electron elementary particles enter the competition equilibrium ethical evolution evolutionarily stable strategy example exist experimental experiments fight frog game theory gene selection golden rule group selection group selection theory hawks idea individual intuition law of effect lead logically isomorphic lose mathematical methods million dollar game mystical natural selection Neumann's theorem Nevertheless nirvana opponent optimal mixed strategy outcome perhaps person physicists play players poker posing possible predicted principle of rationality prisoner's dilemma probabilistic probability problem profit psyche psychological pure strategy purely rational quantum mechanics quantum physics quasi-rational question reason result saddle point screen selfish gene theory situation slits snail solution somatic markers species sticklebacks survival thought tion tional von Neumann's theorem wave function winner