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Journal of Economic Literature - Book Review

JEL Volume. 49, Issue 2 | leftPrevious Review Next Review right

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Book(s) Reviewed

Von Neumann, Morgenstern, and the Creation of Game Theory: From Chess to Social Science, 1900-1960 by Robert Leonard

Published By: Historical Perspectives on Modern Economics. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 978-0-521-56266-9
Date of Publication: 2010


Book Review Detail

Reviewed by: Martin Shubik of Professor Emeritus of Mathematical Institutional Economics, Yale University
Review DOI: 10.1257/jel.49.2.433.r2
Review Pages: 436-40

Book Review Abstract

Martin Shubik of Yale University reviews "Von Neumann, Morgenstern, and the Creation of Game Theory: From Chess to Social Science, 1900“1960". By Robert Leonard. The EconLit Abstract of the reviewed work begins "Explores the story of the creation of game theory by Hungarian Jewish mathematician John von Neumann and Austrian economist Oskar Morgenstern and the way that it was shaped by World War II, the Cold War, and its creators' personal lives. Discusses "the strangest states of mind"--chess, psychology,...."
Explores the story of the creation of game theory by Hungarian Jewish mathematician John von Neumann and Austrian economist Oskar Morgenstern and the way that it was shaped by World War II, the Cold War, and its creators' personal lives. Discusses "the strangest states of mind"--chess, psychology, and Emanuel Lasker's Kampf; "deeply rooted, yet alien"--Hungarian Jews and mathematicians; from Budapest to Gottingen--an apprenticeship in modern mathematics; "the futile search for the perfect formula"--Von Neumann's minimax theorem; equilibrium on trial--the Austrian interwar critics; wrestling with complexity--Wirtschaftsprognose and beyond; ethics and the excluded middle--Karl Menger and social science in interwar Vienna; from Austroliberalism to Anschluss--Morgenstern and the Viennese economists in the 1930s; mathematics and the social order--Von Neumann's return to game theory; ars combinatoria--creating the Theory of Games; Morgenstern's catharsis; Von Neumann's war; and social science and the "present danger"--game theory and psychology at the RAND Corporation, 1946-60. Leonard is Professor of Economics at the University of Quebec at Montreal. Bibliography; index.


Book Review Full-Text Access



Book Review Authors

Martin Shubik of Professor Emeritus of Mathematical Institutional Economics, Yale University


JEL Classifications

B16: History of Thought: Quantitative and Mathematical
B23: History of Thought: Quantitative and Mathematical
B31: History of Thought: Individuals
C70: Game Theory and Bargaining Theory: General


Journal of Economic Literature


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