Salience reasoning in coordination games

Synthese 199 (3-4):6601-6620 (2021)
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Abstract

Salience reasoning, many have argued, can help solve coordination problems, but only if such reasoning is supplemented by higher-order predictions, e.g. beliefs about what others believe yet others will choose. In this paper, I will argue that this line of reasoning is self-undermining. Higher-order behavioral predictions defeat salience-based behavioral predictions. To anchor my argument in the philosophical literature, I will develop it in response and opposition to the popular Lewisian model of salience reasoning in coordination games. This model imports the problematic higher-order beliefs by way of a ‘symmetric reasoning’ constraint. In the second part of this paper, I will argue that a player may employ salience reasoning only if she suspends judgment about what others believe yet others will do.

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Julius Schönherr
Peking University

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