Game Theory and Ethics

Game theory is the systematic study of interdependent rational choice. It should be distinguished from decision theory, the systematic study of individual (practical and epistemic) choice in parametric contexts (i.e., where the agent is choosing or deliberating independently of other agents). Decision theory has several applications to ethics (see Dreier 2004; Mele and Rawlings 2004).

Game theory may be used to explain, to predict, and to evaluate human behavior in contexts where the outcome of action depends on what several agents choose to do and where their choices depend on what others choose to do. (See the entry on game theory) Game theory consequently is relevant to ethics, and it is used in moral and political philosophy in a variety of ways.

Publisher: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy