Strategy Constrained by Cognitive Limits, and the Rationality of Belief-Revision Policies

Abstract

Strategy is formally defined as a complete plan of action for every contingency in a game. Ideal agents can evaluate every contingency. But real people cannot do so, and require a belief-revision policy to guide their choices in unforeseen contingencies. The objects of belief-revision policies are beliefs, not strategies and acts. Thus, the rationality of belief-revision policies is subject to Bayesian epistemology. The components of any belief-revision policy are credences constrained by the probability axioms, by conditionalization, and by the principles of indifference and of regularity. The principle of indifference states that an agent updates his credences proportionally to the evidence, and no more. The principle of regularity states that an agent assigns contingent propositions a positive (but uncertain) credence. The result is rational constraints on real people’s credences that account for their uncertainty. Nonetheless, there is the open problem of non-evidential components that affect people’s credence distributions, despite the rational constraint on those credences. One non-evidential component is people’s temperaments, which affect people’s evaluation of evidence. The result is there might not be a proper recommendation of a strategy profile for a game (in terms of a solution concept), despite agents’ beliefs and corresponding acts being rational.

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