Moral Calculations: Game Theory, Logic, and Human Frailty

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Springer Science & Business Media, Jul 1, 1998 - Business & Economics - 276 pages
3 Reviews
Are 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.
  

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

User Review  - Moshe Zadka - Goodreads

I 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
References and Further Reading
261
Index
269
Copyright

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About the author (1998)

Mero is a mathematician and the inventor of the Rubik's Cube

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