On Preliminary Matters

  • Michael Wainwright


Game Theory,” as John Davis Williams (1909–64) elucidates inThe Compleat Strategyst (1954), is shorthand for “the Theory of Games of Strategy” (3; emphasis original). The word strategy, “as used in its everyday sense, carries the connotation of a particularly skillful or adroit plan, whereas in Game Theory it designates any completeplan.” In short, “a strategy is a plan so complete that it cannot be upset by enemy action or Nature; for everything that the enemy or Nature may choose to do, together with a set of possible actions for yourself, is just part of the description of the strategy” (16; emphasis original). Each strategic participant is a self-interested player. Individual players or teams of individuals are distinct (or atomistic) agents. “In some models,” as Paisley Livingston notes, “a single ‘player’ is comprised of a number of ‘agents’ that are not even aware of each other’s moves and strategic rationales” (69). Situations that involve two or more players who cannot or will not communicate definitively are acutely relevant to the human condition.1 In these coordination problems, players must make choices in the knowledge that other parties face the same options, that a coordination condition equivalent to silence pertains between the players, and that the outcome for each party will result from the decisions of every player.


Game Theory Coordination Problem Emphasis Original Environmental Mastery Strategic Rationale 
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© Michael Wainwright 2016

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  • Michael Wainwright

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