Prospectus for a Reorientation of Game Theory

by Thomas Schelling


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An attempt to extend the scope of game theory, using the zero-sum game as a limiting case rather than as a point of departure. The proposed extension consists of identifying the perceptual and suggestive element in the formation of mutually consistent expectations, and of identifying some of the basic “moves” that may occur in actual games of strategy and the structural elements on which the moves depend. Game theory is underdeveloped along these lines in that “rational strategies” pursued by two players in a situation of pure conflict should not be expected to reveal what kind of behavior is conductive to mutual accommodation, or how mutual dependence can be exploited for unilateral gain.

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