Item description for Game Theory and Mutual Misunderstanding: Scientific Dialogues in Five Acts (Studies in Economic Theory) by R. Vanbaelen Mamoru Kaneko...
This book consists of five acts and two interludes, which are all written as dialogues between three main characters and other supporting characters. Each act discusses the epistemological, institutional and methodological foundations of game theory and economics, while using various stories and examples. A featured aspect of those discussions is that many forms of mutual misunderstanding are involved in social situations as well as in those fields themselves. One Japanese traditional comic story called the Konnyaku Mondo is representative and gives hints of how our thought is constrained by incorrect beliefs. Each dialogue critically examines extant theories and common misunderstanding in game theory and economics in order to find possible future developments of those fields.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.37" Width: 6.38" Height: 0.79" Weight: 1.1 lbs.
Release Date Dec 3, 2004
ISBN 3540222952 ISBN13 9783540222958
Availability 85 units. Availability accurate as of Oct 28, 2016 12:42.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Game Theory and Mutual Misunderstanding: Scientific Dialogues in Five Acts (Studies in Economic Theory)?
Game Theory in Five Acts - fresh style, great book Jun 27, 2006
Written like a play in five four-scene acts with two interludes, this book is a joy to read - a pure joy! Academic writings of this kind, on as technical a subject as game theory, are scarce. I picked up the book thinking it would be a parody on some aspect of either economics, game theory, or both. Wrong - the book turned out to be one of the most effective and entertaining readings I have done in a while. The cast, the setting, and illustrations are all well done and likeable. The writing is so easy to understand that I found myself playing many parts and liking it: the audience, the actors, the director/producer, and the narrator.
The first act focuses on the fallacy of composition in economics and game theory. In a few page the author beautifully succeeds in showing the thin line between the profundity and triviality of scientific endeavors.
Act 2, entitled "Konnyaku Mondo and Game Theory" deals with the epistemological foundations of game theory. Apparently "Konnyaku Mondo" means "common knowledge" in Japanese. Common knowledge is just another game in which participants often think they understand "each other, but actually ... may be thinking about totally different things" (p. 42). Common knowledge is one of the sources of mutual misunderstanding.
The conversations of Act 3 enlighten understanding of the prisoner's dilemma and the challenge it poses for the efficacy of the Invisible Hand, and therefore the stability, perhaps even existence, of market equilibrium. One learns and re-learns that market failures are more pervasive than usually admitted, and not incomplete or asymmetric information alone, but also due to this Konnyaku Mondo phenomenon. However, before the act ends, it leaves a cautionary note against jumpy and unreasoned forays that confuse perfect competition and free competition - another source of mutual misunderstanding. Clearly I learned more about the prisoner's dilemma and game theory than I did from the movie A Beautiful Mind, and for less.
The two interludes provide an essential breather by concentrating on the "crises" in economic theory and game theoretic research. The brief literature review is global; the perspective mainly Japanese; the net gain definitely positive.
Act 4 is frontal in its attack of issues and ideas, and the most technical of all the acts. It deals with the implications of the Nash equilibrium for decision making. Along with Act 3 it clearly reveals that the author is an active theoretical gamer. Only an insider would have been so intimately familiar with extensions to game theory made by RJ Aumann and TC Schelling. The majority of us came to hear about the two only after they won the Nobel Prize in Economic Science for 2005. The book may be an academic autobiography, but I like it nonetheless.
The final act (Act 5) discusses "the philosophical foundations of the social sciences" from the viewpoints of both "methodological individualism and methodological collectivism" (p.195). Another source of mutual misunderstanding is that many of us fail to see that individualism is the basis for collectivism - which sounds like something I read from Bertrand Russell.
If W. Arthur Lewis's Hobbesian assertion is correct that human progress would have fared poorly without reading, writing, and the Scientific Method, this book does well for all three. I strongly recommend this little book, especially to researchers. Amazing - just AMAZING!
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