|Bach C. W., Jacques D. , Hans P. (Dir.) (2010). Interactive Epistemology and Reasoning: On the Foundations of Game Theory. Université de Lausanne, Faculté des hautes études commerciales. [abstract]|
Game theory describes and analyzes strategic interaction. It is usually distinguished between static games, which are strategic situations in which the players choose only once as well as simultaneously, and dynamic games, which are strategic situations involving sequential choices. In addition, dynamic games can be further classified according to perfect and imperfect information. Indeed, a dynamic game is said to exhibit perfect information, whenever at any point of the game every player has full informational access to all choices that have been conducted so far. However, in the case of imperfect information some players are not fully informed about some choices. Game-theoretic analysis proceeds in two steps. Firstly, games are modelled by so-called form structures which extract and formalize the significant parts of the underlying strategic interaction. The basic and most commonly used models of games are the normal form, which rather sparsely describes a game merely in terms of the players' strategy sets and utilities, and the extensive form, which models a game in a more detailed way as a tree. In fact, it is standard to formalize static games with the normal form and dynamic games with the extensive form. Secondly, solution concepts are developed to solve models of games in the sense of identifying the choices that should be taken by rational players. Indeed, the ultimate objective of the classical approach to game theory, which is of normative character, is the development of a solution concept that is capable of identifying a unique choice for every player in an arbitrary game. However, given the large variety of games, it is not at all certain whether it is possible to device a solution concept with such universal capability. Alternatively, interactive epistemology provides an epistemic approach to game theory of descriptive character. This rather recent discipline analyzes the relation between knowledge, belief and choice of game-playing agents in an epistemic framework. The description of the players' choices in a given game relative to various epistemic assumptions constitutes the fundamental problem addressed by an epistemic approach to game theory. In a general sense, the objective of interactive epistemology consists in characterizing existing game-theoretic solution concepts in terms of epistemic assumptions as well as in proposing novel solution concepts by studying the game-theoretic implications of refined or new epistemic hypotheses. Intuitively, an epistemic model of a game can be interpreted as representing the reasoning of the players. Indeed, before making a decision in a game, the players reason about the game and their respective opponents, given their knowledge and beliefs. Precisely these epistemic mental states on which players base their decisions are explicitly expressible in an epistemic framework. In this PhD thesis, we consider an epistemic approach to game theory from a foundational point of view. In Chapter 1, basic game-theoretic notions as well as Aumann's epistemic framework for games are expounded and illustrated. Also, Aumann's sufficient conditions for backward induction are presented and his conceptual views discussed. In Chapter 2, Aumann's interactive epistemology is conceptually analyzed. In Chapter 3, which is based on joint work with Conrad Heilmann, a three-stage account for dynamic games is introduced and a type-based epistemic model is extended with a notion of agent connectedness. Then, sufficient conditions for backward induction are derived. In Chapter 4, which is based on joint work with Jérémie Cabessa, a topological approach to interactive epistemology is initiated. In particular, the epistemic-topological operator limit knowledge is defined and some implications for games considered. In Chapter 5, which is based on joint work with Jérémie Cabessa and Andrés Perea, Aumann's impossibility theorem on agreeing to disagree is revisited and weakened in the sense that possible contexts are provided in which agents can indeed agree to disagree.