Does game theory - the mathematical theory of strategic interaction - provide genuine explanations of human behaviour? Can game theory be used in ecomic consultancy or other rmative contexts? Explaining Games: The Epistemic Programme in Game Theory - the first mograph on the philosophy of game theory - is a bold attempt to combine insights from epistemic logic and the philosophy of science to investigate the applicability of game theory in such fields as ecomics, philosophy and strategic consultancy. De Bruin proves new mathematical theorems about the beliefs, desires and rationality principles of individual human beings, and he explores in detail the logical form of game theory as it is used in explanatory and rmative contexts. He argues that game theory reduces to rational choice theory if used as an explanatory device, and that game theory is nsensical if used as a rmative device. A provocative account of the history of game theory reveals that this is t bad news for all of game theory, though. Two central research programmes in game theory tried to find the ultimate characterisation of strategic interaction between rational agents. Yet, while the Nash Equilibrium Refinement Programme has done badly thanks to such research habits as overmathematisation, model-tinkering and introversion, the Epistemic Programme, De Bruin argues, has been rather successful in achieving this aim.
Boudewijn de Bruin is assistant professor of philosophy in the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Groningen. He obtained his Ph.D. in philosophy from the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation in Amsterdam. His dissertation was awarded several prizes including a Research Prize from the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation. De Bruin did undergraduate work in musical composition at Enschede, and studied mathematics and philosophy at Amsterdam, Berkeley and Harvard. His research interests include epistemology, moral and political philosophy and philosophy of science. Receiver of several prestigious research grants, De Bruin is published widely in such journals as Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Journal of Political Philosophy, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science and Synthese.