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Solomonic Judgements : Studies in the Limitation of Rationality - Jon Elster

Solomonic Judgements

Studies in the Limitation of Rationality

Paperback Published: 18th December 1989
ISBN: 9780521376082
Number Of Pages: 244

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This volume of essays is very much a sequel to the two earlier collections by Jon Elster, Ulysses and the Sirens and Sour Grapes. His topic is rationality - its scope, its limitations, and its failures. Elster considers rational responses to the insufficiency of reason itself, and to the 'indeterminacies' in deploying rational-choice theory and discusses the irrationality of not seeing when, where, and what these are. A key essay which gives the collection its title examines disputes in cases of child custody, which are paradigmatically indeterminate. Leaving aside cases where one parent is patently unfit and assuming that protracted dispute is against the immediate interests of the child, Elster argues that three options present themselves: a strong presumption in favour of the mother, a strong presumption in favour of the primary caretaker (also likely to be the mother), and tossing a coin. Though the first two options may be preferable in the short/medium term, Elster argues that there is a case for randomisation in the long term. The book will be read with interest by anyone concerned with political and social science.

Preface and acknowledgementsp. vii
When Rationality Failsp. 1
Introductionp. 1
Rational actionp. 3
Indeterminacyp. 7
Irrationalityp. 17
Alternatives to rationalityp. 26
Taming Chance: Randomization in Individual and Social Decisionsp. 36
Introductionp. 36
Varieties of randomnessp. 39
Randomization in individual decisionsp. 53
Social lotteries: an overviewp. 62
Scarce goods and necessary burdensp. 67
Political lotteriesp. 78
Legal lotteriesp. 93
Why lotteries?p. 103
Solomonic Judgements: Against the Best Interests of the Childp. 123
Introductionp. 123
Towards the best interests of the childp. 130
Against the best interests of the childp. 134
Circumventing the best interests of the childp. 151
Alternatives to the best interests of the childp. 155
Conclusionp. 173
The Possibility of Rational Politicsp. 175
Introductionp. 175
Individual and social choicep. 176
Political indeterminacyp. 181
Political irrationalityp. 194
Alternatives to rationalism in politicsp. 202
Referencesp. 217
Indexp. 231
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521376082
ISBN-10: 0521376084
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 244
Published: 18th December 1989
Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIV PR
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.46 x 13.87  x 1.85
Weight (kg): 0.37

Earn 109 Qantas Points
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