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

By Herbert Gintis | Go to book overview

13
Summary

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Shakespeare

In a long book with many equations, it is easy to become mired in details and hence miss the big picture. This chapter is a summary of the book's main points.
Game theory is an indispensable tool in modeling human behavior. Behavioral disciplines that reject or peripheralize game theory are theoretically handicapped.
The traditional equilibrium concept in game theory, the Nash equilibrium, is implemented by rational actors only if they share beliefs as to how the game will be played.
The rational actor model includes no principles entailing the communality of beliefs across individuals. For this reason, the complex Nash equilibria that arise in modeling the coordination of behavior in groups do not emerge spontaneously from the interaction of rational agents. Rather, they require a higher-level correlating device, or choreographer.
Hence, the Nash equilibrium is not the appropriate equilibrium concept for social theory.
The correlated equilibrium is the appropriate equilibrium concept for a set of rational individuals having common priors. The appropriate correlating devices may be broadly identified with social norms.
Social systems are complex adaptive dynamical systems. Social norms are among the emergent properties of such systems. Social norms range from simple conventions (e.g., vocabulary and traffic signals) to complex products of gene-culture coevolution (e.g., territoriality and property rights). Complex norms may be taught, learned, and internalized, but individuals must be genetically predisposed to recognize and obey social norms.
There is thus a social epistemology based on the specific character of the evolved human brain, as well as the operation of culturally

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The Bounds of Reason: Game Theory and the Unification of the Behavioral Sciences
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiii
  • 1: Decision Theory and Human Behavior 1
  • 2: Game Theory: Basic Concepts 30
  • 3: Game Theory and Human Behavior 45
  • 4: Rationalizability and Common Knowledge of Rationality 83
  • 5: Extensive Form Rationalizability 102
  • 6: The Mixing Problem 121
  • 7: Bayesian Rationality and Social Epistemology 132
  • 8: Common Knowledge and Nash Equilibrium 146
  • 9: Reflective Reason and Equilibrium Refinements 164
  • 10: The Analytics of Human Sociality 181
  • 11: The Evolution of Property Rights 201
  • 12: The Unification of the Behavioral Sciences 221
  • 13: Summary 248
  • 14: Table of Symbols 250
  • Symbols for Chapter 11 251
  • References 253
  • Index 283
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