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Game Theory and the Social Contract: Playing Fair [Hardcover]

Ken Binmore
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 29 1994 V. 2: Mit Press Series on Economic Learning and Social Evolu

In Game Theory and the Social Contract, Ken Binmore argues that game theory provides a systematic tool for investigating ethical matters. His reinterpretation of classical social contract ideas within a game-theoretic framework generates new insights into the fundamental questions of social philosophy. He clears the way for this ambitious endeavor by first focusing on foundational issues -- paying particular attention to the failings of recent attempts to import game -- theoretic ideas into social and political philosophy.Binmore shows how ideas drawn from the classic expositions of Harsanyi and Rawls produce a synthesis that is consistent with the modern theory of noncooperative games. In the process, he notes logical weaknesses in other analyses of social cooperation and coordination, such as those offered by Rousseau, Kant, Gauthier, and Nozick. He persuasively argues that much of the current literature elaborates a faulty analysis of an irrelevant game.Game Theory and the Social Contract makes game-theoretic ideas more widely accessible to those with only a limited knowledge of the field. Instructional material is woven into the narrative, which is illustrated with many simple examples, and the mathematical content has been reduced to a minimum.


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About the Author

Ken Binmore is Emeritus Professor at University College London. A Fellow of the Econometric Society and the British Academy, he is the author of Game Theory and the Social Contract, Volume 1: Playing Fair (1994) and Volume 2: Just Playing (1998), and the coeditor of Frontiers of Game Theory (1993), all three published by The MIT Press.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Upgrading Rawls' "Theory of Justice" March 1 2001
Format:Hardcover
This is part one of Ken Binmore's exciting theory of the social contract taking up the discussion that took place in the 70ies after the publication of John Rawls' "Theory of Justice". While he sticks to the idea of a social contract reached through voluntary agreement in the Original Position, he also considers the utilitarian critique such as Harsanyi's. But Binmore does much more than that. He translates Rawls' metaphysical idea of a reflective equilibrium into a two-stage bargaining game with flesh and bones. He stresses the tautological character of game-theoretic tools which in this context becomes an advantage. By comparison of the ethical properties of allocations reached via competitive markets and those reached through bargaining in the original position he tries to identify a demarcation line for the decentralized aggregation of individual preferences. Binmore's book is going to be a challenge to any reader interested in the problem of explaining progress in human societies.
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By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Many social scientists do not like the results and correct analysis of the game <i>Prisoners' Dilemma</i> and try to alter the situation by analyzing the game incorrectly. Binmore points out that what these folks want is a different model game. The problem is that these folks don't know enough game theory or utility theory.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Upgrading Rawls' "Theory of Justice" March 1 2001
By Mag Harald W. Stieber - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is part one of Ken Binmore's exciting theory of the social contract taking up the discussion that took place in the 70ies after the publication of John Rawls' "Theory of Justice". While he sticks to the idea of a social contract reached through voluntary agreement in the Original Position, he also considers the utilitarian critique such as Harsanyi's. But Binmore does much more than that. He translates Rawls' metaphysical idea of a reflective equilibrium into a two-stage bargaining game with flesh and bones. He stresses the tautological character of game-theoretic tools which in this context becomes an advantage. By comparison of the ethical properties of allocations reached via competitive markets and those reached through bargaining in the original position he tries to identify a demarcation line for the decentralized aggregation of individual preferences. Binmore's book is going to be a challenge to any reader interested in the problem of explaining progress in human societies.
5 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Games like Prisoners' Dilemma applied to Social Sci July 9 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Many social scientists do not like the results and correct analysis of the game <i>Prisoners' Dilemma</i> and try to alter the situation by analyzing the game incorrectly. Binmore points out that what these folks want is a different model game. The problem is that these folks don't know enough game theory or utility theory.
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