This is a short clip about how to interpret the meaning of “rationality” in decision theory…augmented by an important new idea that game theory brings to this key concept in the social sciences.
The idea of mutual awareness of intelligence and rationality (and mutual awareness of mutual awareness of intelligence and rationality…and so on) is most easily appreciated – and remembered – by watching the “Battle of the Wits” from the Princess Bride. (book, film) . I own a dvd of the film, and I own the book, but becasue of ambiguity in copyright laws (and great risks to me and my ISPs if I get it wrong) I can’t risk enclosing the short clip “The Battle of Wits” from that movie. However, if you google “Battle of wits princess bride” you will find many many places on the web where you can watch that clip. Better yet – buy or rent the film used or new – it is a classic well worth owning. Here is a link to one Youtube page that has the film clip. And, if you want to read the portion of the book have a look at this Post ……or read and listen at the same time?? For educational purposes it “should be” OK to extract and use the small portion from the film without permission (but with acknowledgement)…that’s just “fair use” even in this age of the intellectual monopolists who have captured our political systems (see Boldrin and Levine’s “Against Intellectual Monopoly” here is the book in pdf form (yes the pdf is “free”) and lots of other cool stuff on Prof Levine’s home page) . Very different from the storytellers and theatrical companies of old who freely imitated one another and improvised/changed old stories – putting them in new wineskins and letting the highly competitive “performance marketplace” decide “who is right, and who is “dead” as Wesley would say. But ambiguity about what constitutes “fair use” and an anticipated lack of support from any University in NZ to challenge the intellectual monopoly system, deters me from putting up a segment of the Battle of Wits from the dvd that I actually own! The next clip to watch in this series for module 1 illustrates some interesting examples of reasoning about a simple game called “stop Go”, based on classroom interaction, student reasoning about their choices and perceptions in the game, interspersed with my commentary. It is a good way to gain experience with the reasoning processes used by relatively inexperienced but intelligent players trying to understand…and play…for money and for chocolate bars as prizes. Here at UC I do this “live” in class – over the internet and listening in it can be a bit boring – but we will have a recorded hangout (soon) on how to draw the game tree for and analyze this game