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Cover Art
Author Elster, Jon, 1940-

Title Nuts and bolts for the social sciences / Jon Elster.

Published Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1989.


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Bund  300.1 ELST {Bund81 20190820}    AVAILABLE
Physical description viii, 184 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 173-182) and index.
Contents I Mechanisms 3 -- Part 2 Human Action -- II Desires and Opportunities 13 -- III Rational Choice 22 -- IV When Rationality Fails 30 -- V Myopia and Foresight 42 -- VI Selfishness and Altruism 52 -- VII Emotions 61 -- VIII Natural and Social Selection 71 -- IX Reinforcement 82 -- Part 3 Interaction -- X Unintended Consequences 91 -- XI Equilibrium 101 -- XII Social Norms 113 -- XIII Collective Action 124 -- XIV Bargaining 135 -- XV Social Institutions 147 -- XVI Social Change 159.
Summary This book is intended as an introductory survey of the philosophy of the social sciences. It is essentially a work of exposition which offers a toolbox of mechanisms - nuts and bolts, cogs and wheels - that can be used to explain complex social phenomena. Within a brief compass, Jon Elster covers a vast range of topics. Its point of departure is the conflict we all face between our desires and our opportunities. How can rational-choice theory help us understand our motivation and behavior? More significantly, what happens when the theory breaks down but we still cleave to a belief in the power of the rational? Elster describes the fascinating range of forms of irrationality - wishful thinking, the phenomenon of sour grapes, discounting the future in noncooperative behavior. He shows how these issues bear very directly upon our lives in such concrete situations as wage bargaining, economic cartels, political strikes, voting in elections, and court decisions involving child custody. This is a remarkably lucid and comprehensive introduction to the social sciences for students of political science, philosophy, sociology, and economics. It will also prove fascinating to any nonacademic readers who want to understand a little better the forces governing human behavior in its social context.
Subject Social sciences -- Methodology.
Social interaction.
ISBN 0521374553
0521376068 (paperback)