This book examines the connection between Jane Austen's fiction and game theory. It argues that Austen systematically explored the core ideas of game theory in her six novels some two centuries ago. It investigates Austen's basic concepts of choice and preferences as well as her views on strategic thinking. Given the breadth and ambition of her discussion, the book asserts that Austen's explicit intention is to explore strategic thinking, theoretically and not just for practical advantage. It also considers how the strategic legacy of African American folktales influenced the tactics of the U.S. civil rights movement and the ways that “folk game theory” expertly analyzed strategic situations long before game theory became an academic specialty. Finally, it looks at Austen's particular advances in a topic not yet taken up by modern game theory: the conspicuous absence of strategic thinking, or “cluelessness.”
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