The Bounds of Reason: Game Theory and the Unification of the Behavioral Sciences - Revised Edition by Herbert GintisThe Bounds of Reason: Game Theory and the Unification of the Behavioral Sciences - Revised Edition by Herbert Gintis

The Bounds of Reason: Game Theory and the Unification of the Behavioral Sciences - Revised Edition

byHerbert Gintis

Paperback | April 20, 2014

Pricing and Purchase Info

$34.76 online 
$41.95 list price save 17%
Earn 174 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


Game theory is central to understanding human behavior and relevant to all of the behavioral sciences-from biology and economics, to anthropology and political science. However, as The Bounds of Reason demonstrates, game theory alone cannot fully explain human behavior and should instead complement other key concepts championed by the behavioral disciplines. Herbert Gintis shows that just as game theory without broader social theory is merely technical bravado, so social theory without game theory is a handicapped enterprise. This edition has been thoroughly revised and updated.

Reinvigorating game theory, The Bounds of Reason offers innovative thinking for the behavioral sciences.

Herbert Gintis holds faculty positions at the Santa Fe Institute and Central European University. He is the author of Game Theory Evolving (Princeton), coauthor of A Cooperative Species: Human Reciprocity and Its Evolution with Samuel Bowles (Princeton), and the coeditor of numerous books, including Moral Sentiments and Material Inter...
Title:The Bounds of Reason: Game Theory and the Unification of the Behavioral Sciences - Revised EditionFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pagesPublished:April 20, 2014Publisher:Princeton University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0691160848

ISBN - 13:9780691160849

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents


1 Decision Theory and Human Behavior 1

1.1 Beliefs, Preferences, and Constraints 4

1.2 The Rationality of Time Inconsistency 9

1.3 Bayesian Rationality and Subjective Priors 12

1.4 Preferences Are State-Dependent 16

1.5 The Behavioral Revolution 18

2 Game Theory: Basic Concepts 33

2.1 The Extensive Form 33

2.2 The Normal Form 36

2.3 Nash Equilibrium 38

2.4 Correlated Equilibrium 47

3 Game Theory and Human Behavior 48

3.1 Behavioral Game Theory 49

3.2 Character Virtues 76

3.3 The Situational Character of Preferences 78

3.4 The Dark Side of Altruistic Cooperation 79

3.5 Norms of Cooperation: Cross-Cultural Variation 81

4 Rationalizability and Common Knowledge of Rationality 86

4.1 Dominated and Iteratedly Dominated Strategies 87

4.2 Epistemic Games 94

4.3 Rationalizable Strategies 98

4.4 Common Knowledge of Rationality 100

5 Extensive Form Rationalizability 106

5.1 Backward Induction and Dominated Strategies 106

5.2 CKR Fails off the Backward Induction Path 113

5.3 How to Play the Repeated Prisoner's Dilemma 114

5.4 Backward Induction and Extensive Form CKR 116

5.5 On the Inadmissibility of CKR 120

6 The Logical Antinomies of Knowledge 123

6.1 The Pitfalls of Na¨Ä±ve Epistemic Logic 123

6.2 The Common Knowledge of Logicality Paradox 124

6.3 The Surprise Examination 125

6.4 The Modal Logic of Knowledge 126

6.5 A Truth That Cannot Be Known 128

7 The Mixing Problem: Purification and Conjectures 131

7.1 The Incoherence of Mixed Strategies 131

7.2 Purifying Mixed Strategies 133

7.3 A Reputational Model of Honesty and Corruption 135

7.4 Epistemic Games: Mixed Strategies as Conjectures 138

8 Bayesian Rationality and Social Epistemology 142

8.1 The Sexes: From Battle to Ballet 143

8.2 The Choreographer Trumps Backward Induction 144

8.3 Convention as Correlated Equilibrium 146

8.4 The Social Epistemology of Common Priors 149

8.5 The Social Epistemology of Common Knowledge 151

8.6 Social Norms 153

8.7 Game Theory and the Evolution of Norms 153

9 Common Knowledge and Nash Equilibrium 156

9.1 Nash Equilibrium in Two-Player Games 156

9.2 The Modal Logic of Common Knowledge 159

9.3 The Commonality of Knowledge 162

9.4 The Demise of Methodological Individualism 171

10 The Analytics of Human Sociality 174

10.1 Explaining Cooperation: An Overview 174

10.2 The Folk Theorem 178

10.3 Cooperation with Private Signaling 186

10.4 One Cheer for the Folk Theorem 188

10.5 Altruistic Punishing in the Public Goods Game 190

10.6 The Failure of Models of Self-Regarding Cooperation 193

11 The Unification of the Behavioral Sciences 194

11.1 Gene-Culture Coevolution: The Biological Model 196

11.2 Biological and Cultural Dynamics 202

11.3 The Socio-Psychological Theory of Norms 204

11.4 Socialization and the Internalization of Norms 206

11.5 Varieties of Behavioral Modeling 207

11.6 Society as a Complex Adaptive System 215

11.7 The Behavioral Disciplines Can Be Unified 219

12 Summary 221

12.1 Game Theory 221

12.2 Commonality of Beliefs 221

12.3 The Limits of Rationality 222

12.4 Social Norms as Correlated Equilibria 222

12.5 Reason Is Bounded by Sociality, Not Irrationality 223

13 Table of Symbols 224


Subject Index254

Author Index258

Editorial Reviews

"Excellent and stimulating, The Bounds of Reason is broad enough to encompass the central concepts and results in game theory, but discerning enough to omit peripheral developments. The book illustrates deep theoretical results using simple and entertaining examples, makes extensive use of agent-based models and simulation methods, and discusses thorny methodological issues with unusual clarity."-Rajiv Sethi, Barnard College, Columbia University