Game theory in the spiritual and sacred world

February 21, 2007

If there existed a superior being who possessed the supernatural qualities of omniscience, omnipotence, immortality, and incomprehensibility, how would he/she act differently from us? In Superior Beings by Steven Brams, the mathematical theory of games is used to define each of these qualities, and different assumptions about the rules of play in several theological games that might be played between ordinary human beings and superior beings like God are posited.

Implications of these definitions and assumptions are developed and used to explore such questions as: Are God's superior powers compatible with human free will? Can they be reconciled with the problem of evil in the world? In what situation is God's existence ''decidable'' in gamelike relationships He might have with us?

By endowing omniscience, omnipotence, immortality or incomprehensibility with unambiguous meanings, Brams shows how game theory can help breathe life into questions that have been dismissed too quickly simply because they are metaphysical--outside the world of experience. Thereby he clarifies the structure of our thought about an ultimate reality, whether or not it is viewed as religious.

Steven Brams
Superior Beings
If They Exist, How Would We Know? Game-Theoretic Implications of Omnipotence, Omniscience, Immortality, and Incomprehensibility
Springer 2007, 202 pp.
Hardcover, EUR 24.95, £19.00, $29.95, sFr 41.00
ISBN: 978-0-387-48065-7
-end-


Springer

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