Rationality and Evolution

Peter. Danielson

in The Oxford Handbook of Rationality

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780195145397
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:
Rationality and Evolution

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The most striking fact about the relationship between evolutionary game theory and economic game theory is that, at the most basic level, a theory built of hyper-rational actors and a theory built of possibly non-rational actors in fundamental agreement. This article focuses on this “striking fact,” more generally: how game theory, the abstract theory of strategic interaction, supports new and powerful insights into the relation between rationality and evolution. First and most broadly, both rationality and evolution are optimizing processes working in a multiagent environment. This article shows that the same modern methods that undermine naive evolutionary progressivism support the claim that rationality and evolution are isomorphic optimizing processes. It contrasts a simple rational and evolutionary model, sketching the main concepts and variants of evolutionary game theory. It distinguishes biological, economic, and generalist ways of interpreting the game theory.

Keywords: evolutionary game theory; economic game theory; hyper-rational actors; non-rational actors; rationality

Article.  7884 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Moral Philosophy ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Science

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