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#### This book has 1 recommendation

**Nassim Nicholas Taleb** (Flaneur)

This is a must read as it presents a comprehensive set of the principles and axioms behind neo-classical economics. Binmore is a mathematician, hence everything is mapped properly, clearly, and thoroughly.

I spent several days in a seminar with Binmore and was surprised to discover, from his arguments, that much of the criticism against the foundations of decision theory are strawman.

For the theory doesn't say what people think it says. It may have some problems (such as knowledge of probability and understanding of future payoffs) but not the problems discussed in the behavioral and heterodox literature that appear to be violated by people in their experiments.

Binmore writes the following gem: "Nor does the theory [Revealed Preferences] insist that people are selfish, as its critics mischievously maintain. It has no difficulty in modeling the kind of saintly folk who would sell the shirt off their back rather than see a baby cry".

Binmore doesn't say it explicitly, but hints that even the highly influential critiques of Amartya Sen in "Rational Fools" and elsewhere appear to be a bit strawmannish. The book is short and dense enough to be a reference.

#### Amazon description

It is widely held that Bayesian decision theory is the final word on how a rational person should make decisions. However, Leonard Savage--the inventor of Bayesian decision theory--argued that it would be ridiculous to use his theory outside the kind of small world in which it is always possible to "look before you leap." If taken seriously, this view makes Bayesian decision theory inappropriate for the large worlds of scientific discovery and macroeconomic enterprise. When is it correct to use Bayesian decision theory--and when does it need to be modified?

Using a minimum of mathematics, Rational Decisions clearly explains the foundations of Bayesian decision theory and shows why Savage restricted the theory's application to small worlds. The book is a wide-ranging exploration of standard theories of choice and belief under risk and uncertainty. Ken Binmore discusses the various philosophical attitudes related to the nature of probability and offers resolutions to paradoxes believed to hinder further progress.

In arguing that the Bayesian approach to knowledge is inadequate in a large world, Binmore proposes an extension to Bayesian decision theory--allowing the idea of a mixed strategy in game theory to be expanded to a larger set of what Binmore refers to as "muddled" strategies. Written by one of the world's leading game theorists, Rational Decisions is the touchstone for anyone needing a concise, accessible, and expert view on Bayesian decision making.

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