Economics and Philosophy

The Logic of Backwards Inductions

Graham Priest a1
a1 University of Queensland


Backwards induction is an intriguing form of argument. It is used in a number of different contexts. One of these is the surprise exam paradox. Another is game theory. But its use is problematic, at least sometimes. The purpose of this paper is to determine what, exactly, backwards induction is, and hence to evaluate it. Let us start by rehearsing informally some of its problematic applications.