Where did game theory come from?

The best book to read on that topic is Robert Leonard's new and noteworthy Von Neumann, Morgenstern, and the Creation of Game Theory.  Excerpt:

Von Neumann's seminal game paper was part of a rich contemporaneous discussion of the mathematics of chess and parlour games in the first three decades of the century, involving diverse contributors, from Lasker to Zermelo to Konig, Kalmár, and Borel.  It was a multifaceted literature, embracing Lasker's philosophical probing of the place of struggle in business and war, Zermelo and the Hungarians' set-theoretic analyses of chess; and Borel's own attempt to create a novel form of social inquiry, blending probability and psychology.

Here is the book's home page, the non-cached copy is not available at the moment.  Here are working papers by Robert Leonard, on the history of game theory.


Game theory began in the bible, didn't you know, including behavioural game theory. (It actually began earlier in all cultures through proverbs and stories that illustrate game theory in folklore and myth because we all need to know game theory to survive. In fact, you could argue it is responsible for the survival of cultures--good players survive, bad players fail, and the evolutionary successful society prevails.)

Adam didn't know his payoff matrix, or, if he did, thought the probability of detection was low. The lesson was that omniscient players are ones you do not want to play against if you relie on a low probability of detection.

Abraham, you wanna play a trust game?

Wonderful. Thanks for the heads-up!

I love game theory. Still so much work to be done.

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