The World The Game Theorists Made by Paul EricksonThe World The Game Theorists Made by Paul Erickson

The World The Game Theorists Made

byPaul Erickson

Hardcover | November 4, 2015

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In recent decades game theory—the mathematics of rational decision-making by interacting individuals—has assumed a central place in our understanding of capitalist markets, the evolution of social behavior in animals, and even the ethics of altruism and fairness in human beings. With game theory’s ubiquity, however, has come a great deal of misunderstanding. Critics of the contemporary social sciences view it as part of an unwelcome trend toward the marginalization of historicist and interpretive styles of inquiry, and many accuse its proponents of presenting a thin and empirically dubious view of human choice.
The World the Game Theorists Made seeks to explain the ascendency of game theory, focusing on the poorly understood period between the publication of John von Neumann and Oscar Morgenstern’s seminal Theory of Games and Economic Behavior in 1944 and the theory’s revival in economics in the 1980s. Drawing on a diverse collection of institutional archives, personal correspondence and papers, and interviews, Paul Erickson shows how game theory offered social scientists, biologists, military strategists, and others a common, flexible language that could facilitate wide-ranging thought and debate on some of the most critical issues of the day.
Paul Erickson is assistant professor of history, environmental studies, and science in society at Wesleyan University. He is coauthor of How Reason Almost Lost Its Mind: The Strange Career of Cold War Rationality, also published by the University of Chicago Press.
Title:The World The Game Theorists MadeFormat:HardcoverDimensions:384 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.1 inPublished:November 4, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022609703X

ISBN - 13:9780226097039

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1.        The Game Theory Phenomenon
Chapter 2.        Acts of Mathematical Creation
Chapter 3.        From “Military Worth” to Mathematical Programming
Chapter 4.        Game Theory and Practice in the Postwar Human Sciences
Chapter 5.        The Brain and the Bomb
Chapter 6.        Game Theory without Rationality
Chapter 7.        Dreams of a Final Theory

Works Cited

Editorial Reviews

“Whereas the literature in game theory is vast, critical studies of its philosophy and history are scarce. The World the Game Theorists Made narrates the early development and dissemination of game theory, from von Neumann and Morgenstern’s Theory of Games and Economic Behavior onward, displaying thorough knowledge of the primary texts and novel insights into the theory’s idiosyncratic development. The field of game theory has met its match in Erickson’s steady unraveling of the threads of the intricate tapestry its legacy now represents.”