Game Theory: A Critical Introduction

By Shaun P. Hargreaves Heap; Yanis Varoufakis | Go to book overview

NOTES

1AN OVERVIEW
1
An ontological question addresses the essence of what is (its etymology comes from the Greek onta which is plural for being).
2
An epistemological question (episteme meaning the knowledge acquired through engagement) asks about what is known or about what can be known.
3
In fact, some economists prefer to talk solely about ‘consistent’ choice rather than acting to satisfy best one’s preferences. The difficulty with such an approach is to know what sense of rational motivation, if it is not instrumental, leads agents to behave in this ‘consistent’ manner. In other words, the obvious motivating reason for acting consistently is that one has objectives/ preferences which one would like to see realised/satisfied. In which case, the gloss of ‘consistent’ choice still rests on an instrumentally rational motivated psychology.
4
You will notice how the Rousseau version not only blurs the contribution of the individual by making the process of institution building transformative, it also breaches the strict separation between action and structure. In fact this difference also lies at the heart of one of the great cleavages in Enlightenment thinking regarding liberty (see Berlin, 1958). The stict separation of action and structure sits comfortably with the negative sense of freedom (which focuses on the absence of restraint in pursuit of individual objectives) while the fusion is the natural companion for the positive sense of freedom (which is concerned with the ability of individuals to choose their objectives autonomously).

2THE ELEMENTS OF GAME THEORY
1
Pure strategies are contrasted with mixed strategies. Driving and walking to work in the previous chapter are examples of pure strategies. A mixed strategy involves a probabilistic mix of pure strategies. Thus driving to work with probability 0.5 and walking with probability 0.5 is an example of a mixed strategy. We shall always use the term Nash equilibrium to refer to an equilibrium in pure strategies; when the same solution concept involves mixed strategies we shall refer explicitly to it as a Nash equilibrium in mixed strategies (NEMS)—see section 2.7.2.
2
That R has a dominant strategy can be seen from the fact that both (+) signs correspond to R1 (thus meaning that R1 is the best response to both C1 and

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