Chance, utility, rationality, strategy, equilibrium

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (2):172-173 (2003)
Almost anyone seriously interested in decision theory will name John von Neumann's (1928) Minimax Theorem as its foundation, whereas Utility and Rationality are imagined to be the twin towers on which the theory rests. Yet, experimental results and real-life observations seldom support that expectation. Over two centuries ago, Hume (1739–40/1978) put his finger on the discrepancy. “Reason,” he wrote “is, and ought to be the slave of passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.” In other words, effective means to reach specific goals can be prescribed, but not the goals. A wide range of experimental results and daily life behavior support this dictum.
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