On Wed, Aug 01, 2012 at 09:17:00AM -0700, meekerdb wrote:
> >> From the responses I've received on this list, I don't think people
> >are using the term rational in the same way it is used in
> >economics. Flipping a coin is never rational, although it may well be
> >the best thing to do.
> Random moves are optimum in many games and provably so.  What meaning of 
> 'rational' are you using?
> Brent

The usual one from philosophy and economics theory. See eg

Note partiularly the first sentence:

> In philosophy, rationality is the characteristic of any action, belief, or 
> desire, that makes their choice a necessity.

A rational agent is neither free, nor random.

Somewhat unstated in that article is that rational agents have
sufficient computing capacity to perform the reasoning necessary to
determine the optimum choice - there is no flipping of coins to
determine choices.

In economics, it is also assumed that agents have perfect knowledge of
the market. This would be public knowledge, of course, clairvoyance
would be ruled out. Each agent knows what every other agent has done
in the past, but not what they're planning to do next, for instance.

I can see that in other fields, the concept of rationality with
incomplete information is deployed, so I may have overstressed the
complete information bit.

But its all a load of rubbish anyway. Real agents cannot be rational -
they must have bounded reasoning capability, and real time decision
constraints. The leads to the conclusion that a certain amount of
irrationality is a good thing.

If you're interested, I can refer you to a nice little paper of mine
looking at a traditional toy model from economics:




Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Principal, High Performance Coders
Visiting Professor of Mathematics      hpco...@hpcoders.com.au
University of New South Wales          http://www.hpcoders.com.au

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