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


Related Game Theory Articles from Brightsurf:

Head in the game
Researchers at the University of Tsukuba find that blind soccer players rotate their heads downward when trapping an incoming pass.

Secrets behind "Game of Thrones" unveiled by data science and network theory
What are the secrets behind one of the most successful fantasy series of all time?

A memory game could help us understand brain injury
A Boston University team created a memory game for mice in order to examine the function of two different brain areas that process information about the sensation of touch and the memory of previous events.

Is video game addiction real?
A recent six-year study, the longest study ever done on video game addiction, found that about 90% of gamers do not play in a way that is harmful or causes negative long-term consequences.

Game theory suggests more efficient cancer therapy
Cornell mathematicians are using game theory to model how this competition could be leveraged, so cancer treatment -- which also takes a toll on the patient's body -- might be administered more sparingly, with maximized effect.

Kids eat more calories in post-game snacks than they burn during the game
A new study led by Brigham Young University public health researchers finds the number of calories kids consume from post-game snacks far exceeds the number of calories they actually burn playing in the game.

Can exercise improve video game performance?
Time spent playing video games is often seen as time stolen from physical activities.

APS tip sheet: Dark matter's galactic emissions and game theory of vaccination
The APS Tip Sheet highlights noteworthy research recently published in the Physical Review Journals.

Get your game face on: Study finds it may help
Could putting on a serious face in preparation for competition actually impact performance?

Researchers use game theory to successfully identify bacterial antibiotic resistance
Washington State University researchers have developed a novel way to identify previously unrecognized antibiotic-resistance genes in bacteria.

Read More: Game Theory News and Game Theory Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to