PP-2006-54: Intentions and Plans in Decision and Game Theory

PP-2006-54: van Hees, Martin and Roy, Olivier (2006) Intentions and Plans in Decision and Game Theory. [Report]

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Given the important role that intentions play in the way we make
decisions, we would expect intentions to occupy a substantial place in
any theory of action. Surprisingly enough, in what is perhaps the most
influential theory of action, rational choice theory, explicit
reference is made to actions, strategies, information, outcomes and
preferences but not to intentions. This is not to say that no
attention has been paid to the relation between rational choice and
intentions. On the contrary, a rich philosophical literature has
developed on the relation between rationality and intentions (see for
example (Mele, 1997)). However, to our knowledge, there has been no
real attempt to model the role of intentions in decision making within
a rational choice framework.
In this paper we argue that such modelling is a worthwhile
enterprise. Starting from a very simplistic rational choice model, we
show that enriching it with tools to represent intentions helps to
account for known phenomena such as focal points, and gives rise to
new questions about intention-based strategic interactions. We build
our representation of intention on the philosophical foundations laid
down in (Bratman, 1987). Our contribution is twofold. We first show
that intentions can account for focal points in decisions and
games. We then show how agents can use their intentions to simplify
decision problems. In neither part do we go into the question whether
intentions can be defined in terms of strategies, preferences,
beliefs, or in any other ingredient of the existing models; we simply
introduce intentions as an extra parameter and then examine some
conditions that might be imposed on them.

Item Type: Report
Report Nr: PP-2006-54
Series Name: Prepublication (PP) Series
Year: 2006
Uncontrolled Keywords: Intentions; Games; Decision Theory; Simplification; Focal Points
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2016 14:36
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2016 14:36
URI: https://eprints.illc.uva.nl/id/eprint/229

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