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Biblical Games - Game Theory & the Hebrew Bible (Anglais) Broché – 1 octobre 2002

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Book by Brams Steven J

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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Amazon.com: 7 commentaires
25 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Five Stars if Accompanied with Brams' Theory of Moves 21 janvier 2004
Par JON STRICKLAND - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Brams' Biblical Games is one of the most fascinating reads that I have encountered in some time. Presented are accounts of significant events recorded in the Old Testament, all of which are logically and mathematically examined by Brams, who uses aspects of game theory to determine the rationality of each person or assembly involved.
Throughout the chapters, Brams looks at every character as a player in a game, which, by itself, is touted as a challenge whose outcome is dependent upon the type of decisions executed. He subsequently utilizes payoff matrices, which are 2x2 geometric patterns that represent the outcomes of at least four different courses of action, where the results are weighed in as follows: 4=Best, 3= Next Best, 2= Next Worst, and 1=Worst. For each game, Brams places these numbers in ordered pairs; for example, (1,1) would be the result of a worst case scenario for both parties, a (4,2) might be interpreted as a situation where Player/Group #1 has the best possible outcome at the expense of Player/Group #2, who must settle for what is interpreted as next to worst.
In Biblical Games, Brams makes transitions from one decision-making conflict to another. Some of the so-called games exclusively involve bitter enemies, others concern those who typically have one another's best interests at heart, and some just implicate those who are essentially indifferent about the next person's fate or welfare. As he proceeds from section to section, Brams surprises the reader with scenarios that can run counter to one's expectations by showing that regardless of the nature of the game or conflict, there can potentially exist a win-win outcome between enemies and an unmitigated disaster that can be brought forth between friends.
Interesting are the interpretations of the numbers assigned in each matrix. Brams often interprets a player's score of 1 (worst case) as being the result of that particular player's ineptness to make adequate decisions and that this insufficiency could be due to either recklessness or lack of fortitude, or both. A 2, on the other hand, though a next to worst, has the capacity to be esteemed as the outcome of a most logical decision made by a player who lacks the resources to put him/herself into a better situation but enough to avoid disaster. Not only does Brams weigh the outcome of what actually happened, but he also presents the logic, or lack thereof, of alternate decisions and how they all would likely have turned out.
Biblical Games is very thought provoking, even sobering. Ideally, it should help one to weigh more carefully and more wisely the consequences of the decisions that he or she makes.
On its own, Biblical Games gets four stars, but tied in with Brams' Theory of Moves, it easily gets five. From the latter book, you will have tied in with appreciating the logic of what actually happened and what might have otherwise happened à la Biblical Games a more refined, more exact analysis of potential moves and countermoves that can be applied to personal challenges in the distant future.
21 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Great primer on game theory 21 janvier 2005
Par A. Scott Cunningham - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I'm enjoying this book far more than all the other elementary game theory textbooks I've plowed through. I'm a doctoral student in economics, and I'm reading this book for a readings class. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in dipping their feet into game theory. It's very readable and uses no mathematics, thus making it accessible to the non-technician and beginner.

Brams uses 2x2, non-cooperative models of complete information for the most part. He uses both game trees and normal expressions of the situations under analysis. This is, I think, one of the strengths of the book. The stories are familiar, if you are familiar with the Judeo-Christian religion, and thus this captures one's attention in ways that abstract stories about prisoners, and husband and wives and other classic illustrations in game theory may not. God is included as a player in situations Brams analyzes, and his interpretations are, at the very least, illuminating. While reading it, I was reminded of an Edmund Burke quote which more or less says that even heresy is valuable insofar as it stirs the stagnant waters of science such that progress can be made. I am finding that even when I disagree with Brams interpretation, his game theoretic explanation nonetheless sheds some light on the story, as well as on broader spiritual ideas like faith and rationality.

One criticism I have of the book is, though, that it is limited only to games of complete information. As I said, I do believe that the fact that this book only uses noncooperative games of complete information is its strength, precisely because I believe this book is helpful as a primer to game theory. But, because he omits problems of imperfect information, I am left wondering whether he has truly modeled many of these situations as accurately as he could have. For instance, when dealing with the "sacrifice game" involving God and Abraham, wherein God has ordered Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, Brams seems to treat Abraham as having complete foreknowledge of God's preference rankings of the four various outcomes. It is difficult for me to believe that Abraham, even being an intimate to God, would possess this kind of knowledge. I would have preferred to see Brams introduce models which would allow Abraham to deal with the asymetric information inherent in this kind of situation. Is anything lost by assuming complete information in these games? Not necessarily. Having not worked the alternative problems out for myself, I cannot say, but since Brams is so effective at making game theory accessible in this book, I believe he had ample opportunities in the book to introduce slightly more complicated notions like mixed strategies and signaling. He certainly is talented and creative enough to do so.

All in all, I recommend the book to all students of economics, religion, sociology and political science. I do not necessarily believe that the analysis is hugely valuable for the more generally "spiritual" person, but I definitely would not discourage that person from reading the book. Brams is unusually gracious and respectful of religion, generally, and the characters (including God) in this book. That is definitely a plus. It is rare for anyone to assume rationality when thinking about religion, and when scholars finally do, I tend to be impressed. And I was impressed with Brams, both for the tone of the book, but also for the content. Highly recommended.
23 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Actually very interesting 20 mai 2003
Par David M. Swagler - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Just for grins, I decided to actually review this book AFTER I read it. The previous reviewer should consider doing same.
The book was interesting and thought provoking. I would recommend it to anyone with a secular interest in game theory applied to a non-obvious choice of subject. The author isn't presuming to think like God. He is applying game theory to a group of situations many are already familiar with.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The Hebrew Bible and the role of doubt within faith as illuminated by game theory 1 mars 2015
Par Ulfilas - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Author Steven Brams considers the situations described in the Hebrew Bible (i.e. Old Testament) within the context of game theory. In doing so, he addresses a number of important questions ranging from the nature of the God of the Hebrew Bible, to the nature of the faith of His worshipers. The author arrives at a number of interesting conclusions as he unravels the strategies adopted by biblical characters. One inescapable conclusion is that the Hebrew God, although possibly omnipresent, is not omnipotent--for it is the limited scope of His power that would seem to motivate his full participation in these game-like scenarios. As for His adherents, the nature of their faith is seen to fall somewhat short of complete and monolithic--indeed it is their doubts that often seem to motivate God to modify his demands in order to better inspire their faith. The author also goes so far as to consider faith more of a "dominant" strategy than a state of mind or quality of soul. That is, "being faithful means that one's rational strategy is independent of the strategy of other players" (p.37).

The doubts of the faithful include those of Eve regarding the death that would seem to immediately follow eating fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, as well as the expectation that God would allow Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac to be consummated. In addition, these doubts are seen to give rise to the counter-arguments that the faithful often direct towards God. Adam points out that the forbidden fruit seemed less than completely suspect because it came from the hand of Eve--the very helpmate that God fashioned from his own flesh. As for Cain and his slaying of brother Abel, Cain's somewhat insolent remark that he is not his "brother's keeper" is meant to show that the actual "keeper" is God, who set up this seminal sibling rivalry by his summary rejection of Cain's offering.
14 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
pay no attention to oil and water 4 octobre 2003
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
He didn't read the book and misinterpreted the whole concept of it. Just because your jewish does't make you an expert on the old testament.
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