Moral Calculations: Game Theory, Logic, and Human Frailty (Anglais) Relié – 1 juillet 1998
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Unfortunately, the book is marred by Mero's expansion of game theory into a "theory of everything". By the last chapter, he has gone from straightforward applied mathematics into fuzzy-headed mysticism. At this point, the book has become more embarassing than interesting. My suggestion is to read the first half of tbe book and forget the rest!
I actually got referred to this book by a website that discussed Game Theory and when I went to Amazon to purchase it, I was amused by the reviewers on Amazon that were horrified that the last of the book covered Meditation/Mysticism. Thats what absolutely convinced me to buy it. I am a scientist and I am practicing meditation, I see both sides.
Mero does a great job of showing how Game Theory can explain the Rational and also show how irrational we are. He practically predicts why the reviewers that didn't like the last parts of his book are the way they are, which of course made them say the things they say in the review!
As the famous ad says, Just do it.
The many fields which he observes are
1) Evolution - the debate between group selection and gene selection
2) Bluffing - Can there be a formula that can help you bluff.
3) Human behaviour in auctions.
4) The play between Socialism and Free Enterprise or competition-cooperation in societies and economies.
5) Hawks and Doves - is there a mathematical necessity to have both elements in a society as it evolves.
6) Quantum physics - why do electrons behave or are observed to be behaving according to principles of quantum physics. Is that the electrons behaviour or is that behaviour its existence.
7) What principles of decision making does our conscious and unconscious mind follow?
8) And finally a great comcept that amazed me - mysticism or meditation and its comparison with scientific thought. How eastern concept of meditation, which is based on transcending the mind, compares with the goedele's theorem which says that a system of rational thought can be insufficient to explain everything within that system.
The book does get difficult to read towards the end but for most part Laszlo manages to simplify concepts of immense complexity in simple language.
It's a joy to read and will reignite the scientific thought as well as mystic curiosity in you.
Laszlo Mero, A Big Thank You for this effort.
In particular, he explains some of the more infamous non-zero-sum games: the dollar auction, in which a dollar bill is auctioned off, but with a twist - both the highest bidder and the second-highest bidder must pay their bids, but only the highest bidder gets the dollar; and the prisoner's dilemma (and its variants), in which cooperation is the best result for the 2 players combined, but there's the danger of being undermined by the other player and individually losing everything. The dollar auction is likened to an arms race (indeed, the U.S. won =that= particular dollar auction against the Soviets), where what is being bought is military supremacy between superpowers. The prisoner's dilemma can be likened to a situation like a lane closure on a busy highway: if one merges in turn, and everybody else does, traffic keeps flowing somewhat; however, if only one person zooms ahead and merges ahead of where they should in fairness, the traffic can still go on fine and that one zoomer gets a benefit over the other drivers. But if =everybody= tries to cut in line... traffic clog.
It is true that trying to extend game theory to morality is a tricky business, and as another reviewer has put it, the book gets downright embarrassing towards the end. However, I am a math teacher, and have used ideas from the book to put more =oomph= in my classes on game theory to gifted teenagers. There isn't much in the way of math in here, but plenty of rational thinking and can lead a little light on to why game theory research has led to the winning of a Nobel Prize in Economics (or two).
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