Methodology in Biological Game Theory

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (3):637-658 (2013)
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Game theory has a prominent role in evolutionary biology, in particular in the ecological study of various phenomena ranging from conflict behaviour to altruism to signalling and beyond. The two central methodological tools in biological game theory are the concepts of Nash equilibrium and evolutionarily stable strategy. While both were inspired by a dynamic conception of evolution, these concepts are essentially static—they only show that a population is uninvadable, but not that a population is likely to evolve. In this article, we argue that a static methodology can lead to misleading views about dynamic evolutionary processes. We advocate, instead, a more pluralistic methodology, which includes both static and dynamic game theoretic tools. Such an approach provides a more complete picture of the evolution of strategic behaviour. 1 Introduction2 The Equilibrium Methodology3 Common Interest Signalling3.1 Lewis’s signalling game3.2 Static analysis3.3 Dynamic analysis4 The Sir Philip Sidney Game4.1 Static analysis4.2 Other equilibria4.3 Dynamic analysis5 Related Literature6 Static and Dynamic Approaches



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Author Profiles

Simon Huttegger
University of California, Irvine
Kevin Zollman
Carnegie Mellon University

References found in this work

Convention: A Philosophical Study.David Kellogg Lewis - 1969 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Signals.Brian Skyrms - 2008 - Philosophy of Science 75 (5):489-500.
Evolution and the explanation of meaning.Simon M. Huttegger - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (1):1-27.
Deterministic Chaos and the Evolution of Meaning.Elliott O. Wagner - 2012 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (3):547-575.

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