On the Narrow Epistemology of Game Theoretic Agents

In Ondrej Majer, Ahti-Veikko Pietarinen & Tero Tulenheimo (eds.), Games: Unifying Logic, Language, and Philosophy. Springer (2009)
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Abstract

I argue that game theoretic explanations of human actions make implausible epistemological assumptions. A logical analysis of game theoretic explanations shows that they do not conform to the belief-desire framework of action explanation. Epistemic characterization theorems (specifying sufficient conditions for game theoretic solution concepts to obtain) are argued to be the canonical way to make game theory conform to that framework. The belief formation practices implicit in epistemic characterization theorems, however, disregard all information about players except what can be found in the game itself. And such a practice of belief formation is, I show, implausible.

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Boudewijn de Bruin
University of Groningen

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