Rational choice theory enjoys unprecedented popularity and influence in the behavioral and social sciences, but it generates intractable problems when applied to socially interactive decisions. In individual decisions, instrumental rationality is defined in terms of expected utility maximization. This becomes problematic in interactive decisions, when individuals have only partial control over the outcomes, because expected utility maximization is undefined in the absence of assumptions about how the other participants will behave. Game theory therefore incorporates not only rationality but also common (...) knowledge assumptions, enabling players to anticipate their co-players' strategies. Under these assumptions, disparate anomalies emerge. Instrumental rationality, conventionally interpreted, fails to explain intuitively obvious features of human interaction, yields predictions starkly at variance with experimental findings, and breaks down completely in certain cases. In particular, focal point selection in pure coordination games is inexplicable, though it is easily achieved in practice; the intuitively compelling payoff-dominance principle lacks rational justification; rationality in social dilemmas is self-defeating; a key solution concept for cooperative coalition games is frequently inapplicable; and rational choice in certain sequential games generates contradictions. In experiments, human players behave more cooperatively and receive higher payoffs than strict rationality would permit. Orthodox conceptions of rationality are evidently internally deficient and inadequate for explaining human interaction. Psychological game theory, based on nonstandard assumptions, is required to solve these problems, and some suggestions along these lines have already been put forward. Key Words: backward induction; Centipede game; common knowledge; cooperation; epistemic reasoning; game theory; payoff dominance; pure coordination game; rational choice theory; social dilemma. (shrink)
Even if game theory is broadened to encompass other-regarding preferences, it cannot adequately model all aspects of interactive decision making. Payoff dominance is an example of a phenomenon that can be adequately modeled only by departing radically from standard assumptions of decision theory and game theory – either the unit of agency or the nature of rationality. (Published Online April 27 2007).
How often does an interest or pleasure in your life become something that has to be managed, given a hierarchical position amongst other tasks, and thus becomes a chore alongside other chores? When content and possibility are stripped by scheduling and the demands of capitalist required labour mean that free play or time required for speculative and/or creative thought is removed in the interests of deadlines, what happens to the compassionate, generous and intimate functioning of thought and life? This paper (...) considers how Guattari argues that subjectivities are produced and organised by what he describes as machinic assemblages. Machinic assemblages are those aspects of life that operate to regulate the affective powers of life. Guattari's work on activities such as art making, game play, music and performance provides ways to consider the labour of subjectivity outside of work. I ask the reader to consider what the notion and motivation for play signal. Arguing that a singular life at play is the collective event of play, I describe play as a mediatising form for the production of subjectivity. The play field situates and directs the machinic assemblage of subjectivation through its own forms of mediatisation. (shrink)
Philosophy, and in particular continental philosophy, has provided a conceptual underpinning for cinema since its beginnings, especially in the development of cinematic aesthetics. In its turn, film has rethought the abstractions of space and time and the categories of sex and gender and has created new concepts which illuminate phenomenology, metaphysics and epistemology. -/- Film, Theory and Philosophy brings together leading scholars to provide a detailed overview of the key thinkers who have shaped the field of film philosophy. The thinkers (...) include continental philosophers, “post-continental” philosophers, analytic philosophers, film-makers, film reviewers, sociologists, and cultural theorists. The essays reveal how philosophy can be applied to film analysis and how film can be used to illustrate philosophical problems. But more importantly, the essays explore how film has shaped what philosophy thinks and how philosophy has lead to a reappraisal of film. The book will prove an invaluable reference and guide to readers interested in a deeper understanding of the issues and insights presented by film philosophy. (shrink)
Psychological game theory encompasses formal theories designed to remedy game-theoretic indeterminacy and to predict strategic interaction more accurately. Its theoretical plurality entails second-order indeterminacy, but this seems unavoidable. Orthodox game theory cannot solve payoff-dominance problems, and remedies based on interval-valued beliefs or payoff transformations are inadequate. Evolutionary game theory applies only to repeated interactions, and behavioral ecology is powerless to explain cooperation between genetically unrelated strangers in isolated interactions. Punishment of defectors elucidates cooperation in social dilemmas but leaves punishing behavior (...) unexplained. Team reasoning solves problems of coordination and cooperation, but aggregation of individual preferences is problematic. (shrink)
Payoff dominance, a criterion for choosing between equilibrium points in games, is intuitively compelling, especially in matching games and other games of common interests, but it has not been justified from standard game-theoretic rationality assumptions. A psychological explanation of it is offered in terms of a form of reasoning that we call the Stackelberg heuristic in which players assume that their strategic thinking will be anticipated by their co-player(s). Two-person games are called Stackelberg-soluble if the players' strategies that maximize against (...) their co-players' best replies intersect in a Nash equilibrium. Proofs are given that every game of common interests is Stackelberg-soluble, that a Stackelberg solution is always a payoff-dominant outcome, and that in every game with multiple Nash equilibria a Stackelberg solution is a payoff-dominant equilibrium point. It is argued that the Stackelberg heuristic may be justified by evidentialist reasoning. (shrink)
There is a long-standing debate in philosophy about whether it is morally permissible to harm one person in order to prevent a greater harm to others and, if not, what is the moral principle underlying the prohibition. Hypothetical moral dilemmas are used in order to probe moral intuitions. Philosophers use them to achieve a reflective equilibrium between intuitions and principles, psychologists to investigate moral decision-making processes. In the dilemmas, the harms that are traded off are almost always deaths. However, the (...) moral principles and psychological processes are supposed to be broader than this, encompassing harms other than death. Further, if the standard pattern of intuitions is preserved in the domain of economic harm, then that would open up the possibility of studying behavior in trolley problems using the tools of experimental economics. We report the results of two studies designed to test whether the standard patterns of intuitions are preserved when the domain and severity of harm are varied. Our findings show that the difference in moral intuitions between bystander and footbridge scenarios is replicated across different domains and levels of physical and non-physical harm, including economic harms. (shrink)
A significant increase in the probability of an action resulting from observing that action performed by another agent cannot, on its own, provide persuasive evidence of imitation. Simple models of social influence based on two-person sequential games suggest that both imitation and pseudo-imitation can be explained by a process more fundamental than priming, namely, subjective utility maximization.
This article is devoted to explaining why decision makers choose salient equilibria or focal points in pure coordination games - games in which players have identical preferences over the set of possible outcomes. Focal points, even when they arise as framing effects based on the labelling of options, are intuitively obvious choices, and experimental evidence shows that decision makers often coordinate successfully by choosing them. In response to arguments that focusing is not rationally justified, a psychological explanation and a conditional (...) justification is offered in terms of a form of reasoning called the Stackelberg heuristic that has been used to explain the selection of payoff-dominant (Pareto-optimal) equilibria in common-interest games. Pure coordination games, if appropriately modelled, are shown to be reducible to common-interest games with payoff-dominant equilibria, and it is argued that focusing can therefore be explained by the Stackelberg heuristic. (shrink)
UK general practitioners (GPs) are self-employed entrepreneurs running small businesses with commercial considerations. In this situation there is no clear distinction between information, self-promotion and advertising. In response to the growing public demand for more information about medical services, the medical profession should voluntarily accept the notion of soft self-promotion in the form of 'notices' or 'announcements' placed in newspapers. Newspapers are the most effective way of giving easy access to information. The resistance to newspapers may be more concerned with (...) preserving certain medical traditions than consideration of the public interest. The General Medical Council's (GMC's) arguments against soft self-promotion are seen as misguided paternalism, inconsistent and irrational. (shrink)
Allen Carlson and Sheila Lintott (eds): Nature, Aesthetics, and Environmentalism: From Beauty to Duty Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s10806-010-9258-2 Authors Nathaniel Barrett, Institute for the Biocultural Study of Religion 1711 Massachusetts Ave NW #308 Washington DC 20036 USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
Sheila Davaney’s Pragmatic Historicism provides yet another opportunity for us to discuss disagreements between two kinds of pragmatism. One, which I espouse, is a non-metaphysical pragmatism. It is rooted in James’s and Dewey’s appropriation of Darwinian biology for philosophical purposes and, more recently, Donald Davidson’s philosophy of language. Richard Rorty is its most influential contemporary spokesman. The other is a metaphysical pragmatism. It is rooted in James’s radical empiricism and Whitehead’s process philosophy. In the Highlands Institute, William Dean and (...) now Davaney, among others, advocate versions of metaphysical pragmatism. (shrink)