There will be a special meeting of the Seminar in Logic and Games this Friday (this is the only seminar meeting this Friday).
Seminar in Logic and Games
Friday, December 16, 4:15 PM
Graduate Center room 4419
Eric Pacuit (CMU and Tilburg)
Thinking about how to play: modeling strategic reasoning
Abstract: How do rational (or not-so rational) players decide what to do in a
strategic situation? This has both a normative component (What are the normative
principles that guide the players’ decision making?) and a descriptive component (Which
psychological phenomena best explain discrepancies between predicted and observed
behavior in game situations?). A fundamental assumption in many game-theoretic models
is that rational players must take into account the fact that the players reason about
each other in deciding how to play. Exactly how the players (should) incorporate the
fact that they are interacting with other (actively reasoning) agents into their own
decision making process is the subject of much debate.
One approach to this question is found in the literature on the epistemic foundations
of solution concepts. The key idea here is to explicitly describe the “informational
context” of a game situation (what the players think each other will do, think each
other thinks each other will do, and so on) and then derive the fact that the players’
choices adhere to a given solution concept from an epistemic property (eg., common
belief of rationality). But, a question still remains: How do the players arrive at a
particular informational context?
We propose a general framework to analyze how such contexts may arise. The idea is to
view informational contexts as the fixed-points of iterated, “rational responses” to
incoming information about the agents’ possible choices. We show general conditions
for the stabilization of such sequences of rational responses, in terms of structural
properties of both the decision rule and the information update policy.
I will conclude with some general comments about the role of *deliberation* in rational
choice theory and game theory.
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