pnrjulius comments on Avoid inflationary use of terms - Less Wrong

70 30 May 2012 08:31PM

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Comment author: 05 June 2012 03:48:15PM 0 points [-]

All game-theoretic scenarios have payoffs... what would it mean not to have payoffs?

For me the Prisoner's Dilemma consists in three things: 1. Pareto-inefficient Nash equilibrium, the only Nash equilibrium 2. symmetry between players 3. complete but imperfect information

If you get more specific than that, you end up making a distinction between games that are all basically the same (this one has a payoff of 10 if you defect, this one only has a payoff of 2); you also make a big deal out of the fact that a Tragedy of the Commons has multiple players, even though it's otherwise isomorphic to a Prisoner's Dilemma.

So here you and I might disagree; maybe I would abstract the concept further than you would. I presume you're not limiting "Prisoner's Dilemma" to actual prisoners, because that seems tremendously silly. So how far would you limit it?

But are there really people who go around applying the term "Prisoner's Dilemma" to things like Stag Hunts or zero-sum games?

Comment author: 06 June 2012 12:05:18PM 0 points [-]

So here you and I might disagree; maybe I would abstract the concept further than you would. I presume you're not limiting "Prisoner's Dilemma" to actual prisoners, because that seems tremendously silly. So how far would you limit it?

Approximately the same. I wouldn't use Prisoner's Dilemma to describe a Tragedy of the Commons myself but would be unlikely to correct it. In some such cases I'd prefer to just use "Newcomblike", which takes the abstraction a step further (removing the strict necessity for symmetry) but is also overtly an abstraction.

But are there really people who go around applying the term "Prisoner's Dilemma" to things like Stag Hunts or zero-sum games?

Yes.

Comment author: 07 June 2012 02:21:44AM 1 point [-]

If people are applying "Prisoner's Dilemma" to zero-sum games, I can see why you'd be annoyed. It clearly shows that they don't know anything about game theory.