Overmathematisation in game theory: pitting the Nash Equilibrium Refinement Programme against the Epistemic Programme

The paper argues that the Nash Equilibrium Refinement Programme in game theory was less successful than its competitor, the Epistemic Programme (Interactive Epistemology). The prime criterion of success is the extent to which the programmes were able to reach the key objective guiding non-cooperative game theory for much of the 20th century, namely, to develop a complete characterisation of the strategic rationality of economic agents in the form of the ultimate game theoretic solution concept for any normal form and extensive game. The paper explains this in terms of unjustified degrees of mathematisation in the Nash Equilibrium Refinement Programme. While this programme's mathematical models were often inspired by purely mathematical concerns rather than the economic phenomena they were intended to be mathematical models of, the Epistemic Programme's mathematical models were developed with a keen eye to the role beliefs and desires play in strategic interaction between rational economic agents playing games; that is, their Interactive Epistemology. The Epistemic Programme succeeded in developing mathematical models formalising aspects of strategic interaction that remained implicit in the Nash Equilibrium Refinement Programme due to an unjustified degree of mathematisation. As a result, the Epistemic Programme is more successful in game theory .
Keywords nash equilibrium  refinement  epistemic programme  interactive epistemology  game theory  rationality  economics  mathematical modelling  mathematisation
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References found in this work BETA
Cristina Bicchieri (2004). Rationality and Game Theory. In Piers Rawling & Alfred R. Mele (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Rationality. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 182--205.
Ken Binmore (1997). Rationality and Backward Induction. Journal of Economic Methodology 4 (1):23-41.
Ken Binmore (1987). Modeling Rational Players: Part I. Economics and Philosophy 3 (02):179-.

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