Game Theory as Social Theory: Finding Spontaneous Order
49 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2018
Date Written: August 31, 2018
Game theory holds out the promise of transforming the core of economic theory from a science of rational choice into a science of human interaction. While traditional game theory does open into social interaction, it mostly neglects another central feature of economic intuition: spontaneous ordering of human activity. To provide space for spontaneous ordering, we advance the concept of synecological game theory. In this manner, social theory is conveyed not by a single, illustrative game but by interaction among a set of interrelated and continually evolving games. By doing this, we replace the presumption of fully coincident perceptions with the recognition that actions invariably operate where perceptions are fundamentally non-coincident. In other words, societal operation entails assembly of more knowledge than can be contained within any player’s mind. In this paper, we sketch the central features of importing a synecological orientation into game theory and explore how doing so expands the analytical agenda of game theory.
Keywords: distributed knowledge; assembly of knowledge; synecology as social theory; emergence of institutional arrangements; realism in economic models; complexity; spontaneous order
JEL Classification: B41, C73, D85, L14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation