Von Neumann, Morgenstern, and the Creation of Game Theory: From Chess to Social Science, 1900-1960

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Cambridge University Press, Jun 28, 2010 - Business & Economics - 390 pages
Drawing on a wealth of new archival material, including personal correspondence and diaries, Robert Leonard tells the fascinating story of the creation of game theory by Hungarian Jewish mathematician John von Neumann and Austrian economist Oskar Morgenstern. Game theory first emerged amid discussions of the psychology and mathematics of chess in Germany and fin-de-siècle Austro-Hungary. In the 1930s, on the cusp of anti-Semitism and political upheaval, it was developed by von Neumann into an ambitious theory of social organization. It was shaped still further by its use in combat analysis in World War II and during the Cold War. Interweaving accounts of the period's economics, science, and mathematics, and drawing sensitively on the private lives of von Neumann and Morgenstern, Robert Leonard provides a detailed reconstruction of a complex historical drama.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
from Lasker to von Neumann
7
part two Oskar Morgenstern and Interwar Vienna
75
part three From War to Cold War
183
Conclusion
344
Bibliography
347
Index
381
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About the author (2010)

A Dublin native, Robert Leonard writes about the history of twentieth-century economics and the social sciences in scientific and cultural context. His work has appeared in a range of journals in economics and the history of science, including the Economic Journal, History of Political Economy and Isis. His 1995 article in the Journal of Economic Literature, from which the present book grew, won the Best Article Award of the History of Economics Society. Leonard is Professor of Economics at the Universit du Qu bec Montr al.

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