Game theory?

Is there anything morally objectionable in Game Theory? Is it something worth studying in?

What is it?

Not morally objectionable. A narrow field - I assume it exists as an elective in some broader program.

Personally, I think it is worth studying. There is nothing inherently immoral in game theory. Analyzing what choice you make based on how your opponent might respond is not problematic from a moral point of view. Now, there might be an incentive for immoral behavior in game situations, but that is not the fault of game theory, more the fault of human nature.

Game theory is a subset of mathematics with a dash of sociology and psychology. People who study game theory use the fields of statistics and probability to assess games of chance. Included with this, they try to determine when a bet is a good bet and when it’s a bad bet. They want to know, if you’re playing Blackjack for example, if you’re more likely to get a high card next or a low card next, using probability to assess your chances as accurately as possible.

They also study other games, especially ones where people interact with each other. For interactive games, and social games, they use psychology and sociology to predict behaviors as accurately as possible. There is always room left for things to not match up to your predictions, but having a well-researched framework of expectations has been shown to increase the likelihood of winning, which is what game theorists want.

Their work has also been applied to military tactics and business negotiations, and there are several reasons for this. One is because there are games about war and business, and in these games the principles of game theory work, helping people win more, whether that means winning more virtual battles or winning in a virtual economy. And when some military guys and businessmen in the real world saw that these principles work in the virtual world, they started trying out the principles of game theory in the real world.

Thus the military now runs “war games” as practice for part of your military training, and businesses use “gamification” as one of the strategies to teach young entrepreneurs how to negotiate better.

Anyway, I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with studying game theory, and in fact it has a historical connection with Catholic theology. A Catholic mathematician from the 1600s is one of the founders of game theory, and he tried to apply its principles to apologetics to help Catholic apologists “win” more. Blaise Pascal was his name. He created “Pascal’s Wager” as an early example of game theory at work in apologetics.

Pascal as in the same person who helped with developing pressure theory and the Pascal triangle?

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