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This book proposes a scientifically grounded method by which we can understand—and perhaps control—human conflict in all its forms.
From the threat of nuclear catastrophe to the daily tensions of social life, conflict is in the very texture of our existence. Dr. Rapoport discerns three levels: he analyzes fights, in which the adversaries try to destroy or overcome one another; games, in which antagonists strive to outwit each other in a framework of accepted rules; and debates, in which the opponents seek to change each other's views.
Once we understand conflicts, we may prevent a fight by turning it into a game (even such a dangerous game as a Cold War), or turn the game into a debate, the most civilized and only productive form of conflict.
Current events, science, literature furnish the examples of fights and games which Dr. Rapoport here converts into mathematical models for study and comparison. The debate is presented in a model which opposes the views of democracy and communism. If such debates fail, the author points out, it is most often because the opponents cannot, or will not, listen to each other. But he suggests a method by which an opponent may be psychologically compelled to listen.
Alert to the limitations as well as the merits of science, Professor Rapoport broadens our understanding of new disciplines such as "Social Physics" and "Game Theory." His is the first study of conflict as a mode of human behavior on all levels.
Introduction: Three Modes of Conflict I
Part I: The Blindness of the Mass
Chapter I: A Theoretical Arms Race 15
Chapter II: A Real Arms Race 31
Chapter III: Psychological Epidemics 47
Chapter IV: Co-operation and Exploitation 60
Chapter V: Critique of Social Physics 85
Part II: The Logic of Strategy
Chapter VI: Game Theory and Its Forerunner, Gambling Theory 107
Chapter VII: Enter the Foe 130
Chapter VIII: The Meaning of Strategy 140
Chapter IX: The Strategy Mixture 151
Chapter X: What If the Opponent Is Both Friend and Foe? 166
Chapter XI: Games with Collusion 180
Chapter XII: Coalitions 195
Chapter XIII: Experiments in Strategic Conflict 213
Chapter XIV: Critiques of Game Theory 226
Part III: The Ethics of Debate
An Apology 245
Chapter XV: To Learn Is To Select; To See Is To Select 248
Chapter XVI: The Blindness of Involvement 259
Chapter XVII: Ways of Persuasion 273
Chapter XVIII: The Assurance of Understanding 289
Chapter XIX: The Region of Validity 292
Chapter XX: The Assumption of Similarity 306
The Case for Collectivism 313
The Case for Individualism 335
Concluding Remarks 359