The Ontology of Poker
Barry Smith
with thanks to Ingvar Johansson and John Kearns
Revised version of slides from talk pres...
We start with John Searle’s ontology of
social reality (version of 1995)
2
This is a president
3
This is a cathedral
4
This is a driver’s license
5
Searle’s Ontology
x counts as y in context C
This human being counts as a president
This stone edifice counts as a cathedr...
Problem for this Theory
money in bank accounts, debts, rights, prices, permissions,
…
Here there is no (physical) x term
...
8
Document acts
many kinds of human action involve
documents
Signing a will in front of witnesses allows
the creation of an ...
Surely document acts are just
speech acts
Speech act is, after all, translated into French as acte du
langage
Austin and S...
Perhaps can support the
Dispensability of Documents
Thesis
documents are involved only inessentially in
acts of, for insta...
12
13
Hypothesis (against the
Dispensability thesis)
Even in small societies of friendly individuals
who know each other, share ...
Strategy
1. A very short ontology of war
2. A very short ontology of chess
3. The special case of blind chess
4. Poker
15
WAR
16
WAR – 1 level
thoughts
17
WAR – 2 levels
thoughts
18
speech
acts
WAR – 2 levels
thoughts
19
speech
acts
thoughts
WAR – 2 levels
events on the ground
speech acts
speech
acts
20
thoughts
thoughts
WAR – 2 levels
events on the ground
speech acts
speech
acts
21
thoughts
thoughts
WAR – 3 levels
events on the ground
speech
acts
speech
acts
22
thoughts
thoughts
War is essentially a three-leveled affair:
thoughts, speech acts and physical actions
23
Searle: chess is war in attenuate...
A Game of Chess
physical
movements
of physical
pieces of
wood
24
A Game of Chess
movements
of physical
pieces
thoughts
25
A Game of Chess
physical
movements
of physical
pieces of
wood
thoughtsthoughts
arm acts arm acts
26
What is the Game?
physical
movements
of physical
pieces of
wood
27
A Game of Blind Chess
28
Chess is played
in small societies of friendly individuals who
know each other, share memories, accept
the same rules, and...
But what is here the game
?
30
But what is here the game
?
thoughtsthoughts
speech acts speech acts
31
Is the game just a sequence
of speech acts?
Neither thoughts nor utterances are parts of the
game
speech acts merely repre...
The game is something
abstract but historical
Normal chess is a set of physical movements
which count as a game of chess.
...
Game of blind chess: a free-
standing y-event
thoughtsthoughts
speech
acts
speech acts
34
an abstract
pattern tied to
spec...
A debt: a free-standing y-quality
an abstract pattern
tied to specific parties
and to a specific
initiating event
records ...
Blind chess game = free-
standing y event
Note that a similar ontological assay could
not be applied in the case of war
Th...
Hypothesis (against the
Dispensability thesis)
There can be no such thing as blind
poker (= poker played entirely via
spee...
38
We are here interested in live
poker
‘live poker’: A retronym for poker
played with at a table with cards, as
opposed to v...
Two senses of ‘blind’
1. You can’t see the (poker) faces
2. You can’t see the cards
40
41
42
43
http://www.pokeronlineformoney.org/online-poker-
sites/
Two senses of ‘blind’
1. You can’t see the (poker) faces
• We assume in what follows that faces are
visible (and that read...
Two senses of ‘blind’
1. You can’t see the (poker) faces
2. You can’t see the cards
• because there are no cards (not even...
Why not a game of blind poker?
The problem is not memory: Really good poker
players have phenomenal memories for the
cards...
Could there be a game of poker in
a small village barter economy?
No chips, no tokens, no dollar bills, no IOU
notes
We wo...
The problem, rather, is one of
secrecy vs. openness
in poker (in contrast to chess) not
everything is in the open. Cards h...
The dealer would have to be
dealing blind
We would need a dealer outside the game
who is able to communicate secretly with...
Further problems
The dealer would need communicate secretly to the
players e.g. via audio signals transmitted through
earp...
In chess, people cannot cheat
We are assuming that, in normal poker, people
also do not cheat. But there is still a differ...
Poker involves essential
randomness
Cards are essential to poker in a way in which
chess pieces are not essential to chess...
Even if players and dealers had
perfect memories,
there would still have to be something like a recording
(documentation) ...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Ontology of Poker

1,043 views

Published on

There is blind chess but there is no blind poker. This is because to play poker essentially involves the use of cards and chips (or representations of or proxies for cards and chips). A game of chess, in contrast, may involve only the exchange of speech acts. We draw initial conclusions for the ontology of poker from this distinction.
Talk presented on March 14, 2014
For video presentation see http://www.youtube.com/edit?video_id=PgwpR9NPKzw

Published in: Social Media
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
1,043
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
11
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
7
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • also word meanings are free-standing y terms?
  • http://www.senegalaisement.com/jadis/hist/obligation_senegal_electric.jpg
  • http://www.panoramio.com/photo/15611750
  • http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fighting_Nyalas.JPG
  • With thanks to John Kearns
  • With thanks to John Kearns
  • With thanks to John Kearns
  • http://www.888poker.com/poker-magazine/poker-articles/poker-table-positions.htm
  • http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/real-life/incredible-skills-of-blind-poker-player-1083310
  • http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/real-life/incredible-skills-of-blind-poker-player-1083310
  • http://www.pokeronlineformoney.org/online-poker-sites/
  • Ontology of Poker

    1. 1. The Ontology of Poker Barry Smith with thanks to Ingvar Johansson and John Kearns Revised version of slides from talk presented in Buffalo on March 14, 2014
    2. 2. We start with John Searle’s ontology of social reality (version of 1995) 2
    3. 3. This is a president 3
    4. 4. This is a cathedral 4
    5. 5. This is a driver’s license 5
    6. 6. Searle’s Ontology x counts as y in context C This human being counts as a president This stone edifice counts as a cathedral This piece of paper counts as a driver’s license x is physical, y is social / institutional / deontic 6
    7. 7. Problem for this Theory money in bank accounts, debts, rights, prices, permissions, … Here there is no (physical) x term  “Free-standing y terms” (quasi-abstract entities) In olden times; such y terms exist because there are memories in people’s heads Now, often: the y terms exist because there are physical artifacts (above all: documents) which record / represent their existence  A new ontology of social reality based on the role of document acts and recording devices 7
    8. 8. 8
    9. 9. Document acts many kinds of human action involve documents Signing a will in front of witnesses allows the creation of an estate, showing a passport at a border post allows a legal entry into a new country, … 9
    10. 10. Surely document acts are just speech acts Speech act is, after all, translated into French as acte du langage Austin and Searle do indeed comment that speech acts can be performed in writing But if we examine the contents of standard texts on speech act theory we do not find sections on: and so forth 10 registering documents serving documents signing documents amending documents authenticating documents destroying documents
    11. 11. Perhaps can support the Dispensability of Documents Thesis documents are involved only inessentially in acts of, for instance, making a will or legally entering a foreign country: in sufficiently small village communities wills would not be needed in sufficiently small countries passports would not be needed 11
    12. 12. 12
    13. 13. 13
    14. 14. Hypothesis (against the Dispensability thesis) Even in small societies of friendly individuals who know each other, share memories, accept the same rules, and do not cheat there are human activities which essentially involve the use of documents or equivalent physical supports / recording devices We shall argue that poker is one such 14
    15. 15. Strategy 1. A very short ontology of war 2. A very short ontology of chess 3. The special case of blind chess 4. Poker 15
    16. 16. WAR 16
    17. 17. WAR – 1 level thoughts 17
    18. 18. WAR – 2 levels thoughts 18 speech acts
    19. 19. WAR – 2 levels thoughts 19 speech acts thoughts
    20. 20. WAR – 2 levels events on the ground speech acts speech acts 20 thoughts thoughts
    21. 21. WAR – 2 levels events on the ground speech acts speech acts 21 thoughts thoughts
    22. 22. WAR – 3 levels events on the ground speech acts speech acts 22 thoughts thoughts
    23. 23. War is essentially a three-leveled affair: thoughts, speech acts and physical actions 23 Searle: chess is war in attenuated form
    24. 24. A Game of Chess physical movements of physical pieces of wood 24
    25. 25. A Game of Chess movements of physical pieces thoughts 25
    26. 26. A Game of Chess physical movements of physical pieces of wood thoughtsthoughts arm acts arm acts 26
    27. 27. What is the Game? physical movements of physical pieces of wood 27
    28. 28. A Game of Blind Chess 28
    29. 29. Chess is played in small societies of friendly individuals who know each other, share memories, accept the same rules, and do not cheat chess does not essentially involve anything beyond thoughts and speech acts (and memory) 29
    30. 30. But what is here the game ? 30
    31. 31. But what is here the game ? thoughtsthoughts speech acts speech acts 31
    32. 32. Is the game just a sequence of speech acts? Neither thoughts nor utterances are parts of the game speech acts merely represent the movements of the pieces But here there are here no movements and no pieces 32
    33. 33. The game is something abstract but historical Normal chess is a set of physical movements which count as a game of chess. Blind chess is a free standing y event It is a sequence of board-constellations (as represented in chess notation). It is a historical sequence (the game was played by specific parties, and it came into existence through a certain series of actions on their part) but in and of itself it has only the sorts of quasi- mathematical properties which are possessed by debts or prices 33
    34. 34. Game of blind chess: a free- standing y-event thoughtsthoughts speech acts speech acts 34 an abstract pattern tied to specific parties and to a specific series of events
    35. 35. A debt: a free-standing y-quality an abstract pattern tied to specific parties and to a specific initiating event records records thoughts, worries thoughts 35
    36. 36. Blind chess game = free- standing y event Note that a similar ontological assay could not be applied in the case of war There could be no such thing as blind war? Why not? (Perhaps in the future war on the internet, à la Stuxnet, bitcoin, will become possible …) 36
    37. 37. Hypothesis (against the Dispensability thesis) There can be no such thing as blind poker (= poker played entirely via speech acts) 37
    38. 38. 38
    39. 39. We are here interested in live poker ‘live poker’: A retronym for poker played with at a table with cards, as opposed to video poker or online poker . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_poker_terms 39
    40. 40. Two senses of ‘blind’ 1. You can’t see the (poker) faces 2. You can’t see the cards 40
    41. 41. 41
    42. 42. 42
    43. 43. 43 http://www.pokeronlineformoney.org/online-poker- sites/
    44. 44. Two senses of ‘blind’ 1. You can’t see the (poker) faces • We assume in what follows that faces are visible (and that reading faces is an essential part of normal poker) 1. You can’t see the cards 44
    45. 45. Two senses of ‘blind’ 1. You can’t see the (poker) faces 2. You can’t see the cards • because there are no cards (not even digital images of cards ), and there are no chips – just thoughts, speech acts, and memories 45
    46. 46. Why not a game of blind poker? The problem is not memory: Really good poker players have phenomenal memories for the cards that have been dealt, and for the bets that have been laid. The first problem is this: “The object of poker is to make money. That’s the way the game is scored.” D. Sklansky, The Theory of Poker, 1999 You don’t play poker with your children for fun 46
    47. 47. Could there be a game of poker in a small village barter economy? No chips, no tokens, no dollar bills, no IOU notes We would need a dealer whom everyone trusts. Each player commits one cow to the game, communicating his commitment to the dealer who holds the cow in (documentless) escrow. Bets are denominated in 1/1000s of a cow. … 47
    48. 48. The problem, rather, is one of secrecy vs. openness in poker (in contrast to chess) not everything is in the open. Cards have a face and a back Chess in contrast is a perfect information game: chess pieces only have a face Surely, we might say, games requiring partial exposure and partial concealment can't be blind 48
    49. 49. The dealer would have to be dealing blind We would need a dealer outside the game who is able to communicate secretly with the players what the cards are in their respective hands. The dealer, too, would need to have a phenomenal memory – he would need to know what cards all the players have, and what bets they have laid, at every stage of the game. 49
    50. 50. Further problems The dealer would need communicate secretly to the players e.g. via audio signals transmitted through earplugs But sometimes the players would need to communicate secretly with the dealer To do this, they would need to leave the room e.g. to inform the dealer about cards they want to throw into the muck (when there are physical cards, this just involves laying the cards face down onto the discard pile) 50
    51. 51. In chess, people cannot cheat We are assuming that, in normal poker, people also do not cheat. But there is still a difference – in chess everything is open to the players involved. In poker, only some things are open, and this allows bluffing (both via sizes of bets placed and via body language). Knowing how to bluff and how to detect bluffing are skills that are essential to good play. Bluffing is not a form of cheating 51
    52. 52. Poker involves essential randomness Cards are essential to poker in a way in which chess pieces are not essential to chess because poker essentially involves chance: shuffling the cards serves to create essential randomness If cards were dispensed with, the dealer would need a randomness generator when assigning card labels to successive players 52
    53. 53. Even if players and dealers had perfect memories, there would still have to be something like a recording (documentation) of these labels in the CPU of the machine (this not [only] to prevent cheating, but simply in order to allow generation of the card labels) the information of what cards have already been dealt has to be stored in the randomness generator so that new card labels can be generated from those which would remain in the deck – this is a defeat for the Dispensability thesis 53

    ×