The Game is Afoot: The French Reaction to Game Theory in the 1950s
Rabia Nessah, Tarik Tazdaït, Mehrdad Vahabi
In this article, we are interested in exploring the history of game theory in France, and particularly the way it was received and was diffused in the 1950s. It will be shown that France was the most fertile soil in continental Europe for a multidisciplinary welcoming to game theory. Reviewing certain aspects of the intellectual trajectory of the mathematician Guilbaud, the ethnologist Lévi-Strauss and the psychanalyst Lacan, we show how each of them, in his own way, played a key role in advancing game theory: (1) Guilbaud for his constancy in disseminating game theory (and mathematics in general), (2) Lévi-Strauss for his original interpretation of game theory that had some impact on social sciences, and (3) Lacan for using the contributions of game theory. Lacan and Lévi-Strauss were particularly convincing since they were instructed on request about the principles of game theory by Guilbaud.