Instructions How to Write

Game Theory Discussion

This assignment is designed to provide you with the opportunity to communicate about technical and abstract material in a clear and straightforward manner. You will spend some time each week writing up a response to a question/prompt, and then posting that on a discussion board that your peers will review. By doing this each week, you’ll get practice writing about technical matters.

Read Till Grüne-Yanoff, “Game Theory,” in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Then answer this question: what are the key philosophical issues in game theory?

In your answer, be sure to complete the following tasks:

Summarize as concisely as you can the contents of section 1. Make sure to include concepts that we have covered in class (to mention a few: players, payoff functions, pure strategies, static vs dynamic games, matrix and extensive form, solution concepts, Nash equilibrium, elimination of dominated strategies, etc.), as well as concepts that are new (in particular: decision theory vs game theory, strategies, zero-sum, pareto-equilibrium, minimax, how to apply game theory in the sciences).
What does it mean to interpret game theory as a theory of rationality? And if we do interpret game theory as a theory of rationality, what then are the ways to justify solution concepts?
Summarize as concisely as you can section 2a: the sufficient epistemic conditions for solution concepts.
Summarize as concisely as you can section 2b and 2c, on Nash equilibrium in one-shot games and repeated games.
Summarize as concisely as you can section 2d: backward induction. What is the key philosophical problem that is involved here? Be sure to explain this problem in your own words.
Summarize as concisely as you can section 2e, on paradoxes of rationality. What are the key paradoxes?
If we take game theory as a predictive theory for soft sciences like economics, sociology, or political science (disciplines where game theory is a standard analytical tool), then what are the challenges that Green and Shapiro made to this idea? And what are the key responses to their claims? How can game theory be useful to predict human behavior? You should find your answers in section 3, particularly the part before 3a.
Summarize as concisely as you can section 3a: the evolutive interpretation.
Summarize as concisely as you can section 3b: the problem of alternative descriptions.
Summarize as concisely as you can section 3c: testing game theory.

Task Points Criteria
a 1
Did the author summarize as concisely as they can the contents of section 1? Did the author include concepts that we have covered in class (to mention a few: players, payoff functions, pure strategies, static vs dynamic games, matrix and extensive form, solution concepts, Nash equilibrium, elimination of dominated strategies, etc.), as well as concepts that are new (in particular: decision theory vs game theory, strategies, zero-sum, pareto-equilibrium, minimax, how to apply game theory in the sciences), and did their explanation match the reading?
b 1
Did the author explain what it means to interpret game theory as a theory of rationality, and then if we do interpret game theory as a theory of rationality, did they explain the ways to justify solution concepts? Did their explanations match the reading?
c 1
Did the author summarize as concisely as they can section 2a (the sufficient epistemic conditions for solution concepts), and did their explanation match the reading?
d 1
Did the author summarize as concisely as they can section 2b and 2c (on Nash equilibrium in one-shot games and repeated games), and did their explanation match the reading?
e 1 Did the author summarize as concisely as they can section 2d (backward induction), and did they explain in their own words the key philosophical problem that is involved here? Did their explanation match the reading?
f 1 Did the author summarize as concisely as they can section 2e (on paradoxes of rationality), and did they explain the key paradoxes? Did their explanation match the reading?
g 1 Did the author explain the challenges that Green and Shapiro made to the idea of taking game theory as a predictive framework for research in the social sciences? Did the author explain the key responses to the claims of Green and Shapiro? And did the author explain how game theory can be useful to predict human behavior? Did their explanation match the reading?
h 1 Did the author explain as concisely as they can section 3a (the evolutive interpretation), and did their explanation match the reading?
i 1 Did the author explain as concisely as they can section 3b (the problem of alternative descriptions), and did their explanation match the reading?
j 1 Did the author explain as concisely as they can section 3c (testing game theory), and did their explanation match the reading?

Be straightforward and honest, and write in as simple a way as possible. We don’t care for fancy words and flourish in the math and/or business world. This isn’t a poetry contest. We want you to you to get straight to the point and just speak simply and directly.

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