Home / General / Slate smears John Nash to make a cheap political point

Slate smears John Nash to make a cheap political point


In the course of a diatribe regarding Eric Garland’s much-lauded Twitter storm, Sam Kriss (I haven’t read Garland’s thing and have no opinion regarding Kriss’s critique) writes:

Garland starts his magnum opus with a promise: He’s going to combat the idea that Obama and Clinton are “doing nothing, just gave up” in the face of Trump’s victory. “Guys,” he writes. “It’s time for some game theory.” Game theory, for the uninitiated, is a branch of mathematics that uses computational models to predict the behavior of human beings in potentially conflictual situations. It’s complex, involves a lot of formal logic and algebra, and is mostly useless. Game theory models human actions on the presumption that everyone is constantly trying to maximize their potential gain against everyone around them; this is why its most famous example concerns prisoners—isolated people, cut off from all the noncompetitive ties that constitute society. One of its most important theoreticians, John Nash, was also a paranoid schizophrenic, who believed himself to be the target of a vast Russian conspiracy.

Emphasis added.

Nash did his work on non-cooperative games in the late 1940s and early 1950s.  He became ill in the winter of 1959, and, as many people know, spent decades struggling, ultimately successfully, to overcome his illness.

Shame on Slate’s editors, assuming they have any.

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