Superior Beings If They Exist How Would We Know?, 1st Edition

  • Steven J. Brams
  • Published By:
  • ISBN-10: 0387480773
  • ISBN-13: 9780387480770
  • Grade Level Range: College Freshman - College Senior
  • 202 Pages | eBook
  • Original Copyright 2007 | Published/Released April 2010
  • This publication's content originally published in print form: 2007

  • Price:  Sign in for price



This book examines theology and the idea of a superior being in the context of game theory. The central question posed in this book is: If there existed a superior being who possessed the supernatural qualities of omniscience, omnipotence, immortality, and incomprehensibility, how would he/she act differently from us? The mathematical theory of games is used to define each of these qualities, and different assumptions about the rules of play in several theological games that might be played between ordinary human beings and superior beings like God are posited.

Table of Contents

Front Cover.
Other Frontmatter.
Title Page.
Copyright Page.
Preface to the Second Edition.
Preface to the First Edition.
List of Figures.
Other Frontmatter.
1: Introduction.
2: The Rationality of Belief in a Superior Being.
3: Introduction.
4: The Revelation Game.
5: The Revelation Game Paradox.
6: The Knowability Games.
7: Belief in an Uncertain World.
8: Conclusions.
9: Omniscience and Partial Omniscience.
10: Introduction.
11: Some Effects of Omniscience.
12: Newcomb's Problem.
13: Which Principle, and Is There a Conflict?.
14: Newcomb's Problem Symmetricized: Prisoners' Dilemma.
15: A Solution to Prisoners' Dilemma.
16: Cooperation or Noncooperation?.
17: Implications of Mutual Predictability for SB and P.
18: Conclusions.
19: The Paradox of Omniscience and the Theory of Moves.
20: Introduction.
21: The Paradox of Omniscience.
22: A Resolution of the Paradox of Omniscience.
23: Theory of Moves.
24: A Second Paradox: Moves May Provide No Resolution.
25: Conclusions.
26: Omnipotence: Moving and Staying Power.
27: Introduction.
28: Moving Power.
29: Is There a Paradox of Moving Power?.
30: Theological Interpretations of Moving Power.
31: Staying Power.
32: An Algorithm for Determining S-Power Outcomes.
33: M-Power versus S-Power in the Commitment Game and Other Situations.
34: Conclusions.
35: Immortality and Incomprehensibility.
36: Introduction.
37: Threats and Immortality.
38: Repeated Plays.
39: Threat Power in the Punishment Game: When Immortality Is Decisive in an Asymmetrical Game.
40: Deception by the Superior Being.
41: The Truth Game and the Problem of Evil.
42: Conclusions.
43: Superior Beings: They may be Undecidable.
44: Introduction.
45: Undecidability.
46: Arbitrariness and Undecidability.