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Jane Austen, Game Theorist$
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Michael Suk-Young Chwe

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691162447

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691162447.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

The Argument

The Argument

(p.1) Chapter One The Argument
Jane Austen, Game Theorist

Michael Suk-Young Chwe

Princeton University Press

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.”

Keywords:   game theory, Jane Austen, novels, choice, preferences, strategic thinking, African American folktales, civil rights movement, folk game theory, cluelessness

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