April 5, 2006 1:00 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone have any pointers on formally modelling deception/self-deception?

I would be interested in any work from the perspectives of game theory, formal logics, evolutionary theory/costly signalling, or anything along those lines. Any tangentially related links would be appreciated.
posted by sonofsamiam to Religion & Philosophy (5 answers total)

There's tons of philosophy papers, books and essays out there on self-deception and deception. Start with Aristotle and go from there.
posted by nixerman at 2:06 PM on April 5, 2006

In economics, one of seminal pieces is Nobel laureate George Akerlof's "Market for Lemons." (Wikipedia | JSTOR).

In this case lemons refers to low-quality automobiles. The key hypothesis is that when the quality of a good varies (e.g., heterogeneity) and is unknown to all market participants (i.e., assymetric information--the owner of a "lemon" knows the auto is low-quality, but the buyer doesn't) then, under certain under circumstances, the market for the good may fail to materialize.

The article is elegant in that it generates seemingly deceptive behavior without making any nefarious assumptions about how beople behave.
posted by GarageWine at 2:15 PM on April 5, 2006

this book is probably a bit dated now, but is a pretty good survey of work related to economics that goes beyond simple models of perfectly informed/intelligent/greedy actors. i'm pretty sure it will make several references to (self-)deception. iirc the emphasis is more on psychology than maths, though.
posted by andrew cooke at 3:37 PM on April 5, 2006

Charlie Bond at Texas Christian University had a nice little article called The Evolution of Deception. As I remember, it does a nice job of discussing co-evolution and mimicry among other things.
posted by i love cheese at 4:44 PM on April 5, 2006

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