evolutionary game theory (was Anthony ... )

Les Schaffer schaffer at SPAMoptonline.net
Fri Mar 23 09:40:45 MST 2001

Jim Craven said:

> I find a lot of game theory is simply trying to find/develop
> "experimental/empirical" data to support the old a priori
> assumptions and summarily-asserted "axioms" of the "homo economicus"
> construct.

the problem with the book i looked at was almost this. The author was
so smitten by his newfound theory of ordinary differential equations
(and its applications to game theory) that he didnt even lay out the
underlying structure of the theory as relevant to game theory (or
economics or whatever) and how it might or might not be based on any
kind of empirical (or even common sense) evidence. reads pretty much
like intro econ books i mess with.

weibull's book also reminded me of a lot of work done in the mid-80's
through early 90's, where non-linear dynamics and chaos theory was
making a big spill-over from the hard core math/sciences departments
into other areas. what i saw a lot of was people writing papers and
texts which were pretty much just re-translations of original work in
the dynamics field. they read more like a grad students attempt to
learn a theory from original sources rather than making an original
contribution to the field. now maybe weibull has contributed to
evolutionary game theory, whatever that is, but this book reads more
like a 'gee whiz look: differential equations can be applied to game
theory!!!!' kind of text.

but i still am interested in hearing Anthony's views on the book. i'd
be glad to pitch it with math help....am curious to see what all the
hooha is about.

some time i would like to write a short blurb on a scientist's naive
reading of undergraduate economics texts in comparison with undergrad
physics texts, for example. the contrast in style, content, and
insight seems incredible to me. i still don't get whether
supply-demand theory is anything more than authors simply drawing
'X'-like figures in their books.

les schaffer

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