The models in mainstream game theory generally assume that actors act according to a single, consistent utility function. Empirical studies, common sense, and humanistic wisdom all suggest that that assumption is too simple. This book starts with an assumption that actors are controlled by diverse, inconsistent forces and demonstrates that introducing this level of complexity allows for the creation of critical game theory models that can help to attain new insights into nature, human nature, human institutions, and human behavior.

The book begins with an evolutionary, or Evo, model in which the players have concerns for the other player as well as egoistic interests. Part I analyzes the Prisoner’s Dilemma using a literary, or Lit, model in which the players have entropic, or Entro, masochistic and sadistic drives as well as altruistic and egoistic ones. Part II suggests that the Lit model opens the door to a “where Entro is, let Evo be” critical perspective on politics. Part III considers how core stories in mainstream game theory can be usefully supplemented and deepened by critical models and reflects on possible futures for critical game theory. The discussion of games and subgames includes poems as well as matrices, in pursuit of a mode of presentation that respects the complex, simultaneously humanistic and scientific qualities of critical game theory.

The vision of critical game theory advanced in the book will be of significant interest to researchers in an array of theoretical and applied disciplines, including but not limited to literature, psychology, political science, economics, computer science, ethics, business ethics, law, and law and economics.

chapter |10 pages

Prelude Lit, Evo, and Econ

chapter 1|12 pages

Egoism and Altruism

part I|71 pages

The Prisoner's Dilemma Reimagined

chapter 2|10 pages

Lit and its Laws

chapter 3|14 pages


We Are the Same

chapter 5|14 pages

One of Us Is Evo, One of Us Is Entro

chapter 6|16 pages

We Are Opposed

part II|73 pages

Radicalism Reimagined

chapter 7|10 pages

Where Entro Is, Let Evo Be

chapter 8|15 pages

American Unfreedom

chapter 9|15 pages

Unser Ding

chapter 10|16 pages

The President of the World

chapter 11|15 pages


part III|45 pages

The Contribution of Critical Game Theory