Crooked Thinking or Straight Talk?

Modernizing Epicurean Scientific Philosophy

  • Ken Binmore

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Ken Binmore
    Pages 1-26
  3. Ken Binmore
    Pages 27-53
  4. Ken Binmore
    Pages 55-70
  5. Ken Binmore
    Pages 71-94
  6. Ken Binmore
    Pages 95-126
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 127-130

About this book


Why can't we think straight about the big issues that face our society? Why are we taken in by the phony arguments of populists and scammers? Where are the philosophers hiding when we need them to tell us what makes sense?

They are hiding because they have nothing to say. The airy-fairy answers offered by writers of footnotes to Plato were wrong two thousand years ago, and they are still wrong now. All this time, we should have been listening to a different but equally venerable branch of matter-of-fact philosophy pioneered by the much-maligned philosopher Epicurus. His ideas were suppressed in ancient times as heretical, but the development of the theory of games and decisions makes it timely for those of us who care about science to revive his style of thinking–not just about the world around us but about ourselves as well. The price of transferring our allegiance to Epicurus and his modern followers is that we can no longer enjoy the luxury of being told what we want to hear. It would be nice if we were really equipped with a hotline to a metaphysical world of transcendental ideals, but the truth is that we are just the flotsam left behind on the beach when the evolutionary tide went out, and we have to get real about what will and will not work for our imperfect species before it is too late.

This book is an attempt to point the way. It has no equations and very little jargon; nor does it pull any punches, either in explaining how game theory works or in exposing the follies of famous metaphysicians.


Game theory Fairness norms Critique of traditional philosophy Theory of games and decisions Greek philosophy Epicureanism Ethical philosophy Refutation of determinism

Authors and affiliations

  • Ken Binmore
    • 1
  1. 1.Economics DepartmentUniversity of BristolBristolUK

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Economics and Finance
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-39546-9
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-39547-6
  • Buy this book on publisher's site