Pathologies of Rational Choice Theory: A Critique of by Donald P. Green, Ian Shapiro

By Donald P. Green, Ian Shapiro

This can be the 1st finished serious evaluate of using rational selection conception in political technological know-how. Writing in an obtainable and nontechnical variety, Donald P. eco-friendly and Ian Shapiro verify rational selection concept the place it's reputed to be so much winning: the learn of collective motion, the habit of political events and politicians, and such phenomena as vote casting cycles and Prisoner's Dilemmas. of their hard-hitting critique, eco-friendly and Shapiro exhibit that the a lot heralded achievements of rational selection thought are actually deeply suspect and that basic rethinking is required if rational selection theorists are to give a contribution to the certainty of politics. of their ultimate chapters, they expect and reply to numerous attainable rational selection responses to their arguments, thereby starting up a discussion that's sure to proceed for it slow.

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Extra resources for Pathologies of Rational Choice Theory: A Critique of Applications in Political Science

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On this view, rational choice explanations are best thought of as accounting for environmental constraints and their effects; as such they "do not necessarily depend on psychological foundations" (7). Satz and Ferejohn recognize that there are difficulties with unqualified forms of externalism. Although they want to insist that good rational choice explanations need not be derivable from postulates about psychological states of individuals, they do not deny the causal influence of mental states, and they concede that predicting an action is not the same as explaining it.

On his view, if determinate predictions cannot be derived from the laws in which equilibrium models are embedded, then the claim that rational choice models amount to anything more than mere empirical generalization has to be abandoned. Other rational choice theorists take less than an all-or-nothing view. 6 Rational choice theorists who resist Riker's pure, all-or-nothing universalism do not entirely abandon universalist ambitions. The qualified forms of universalism that they adopt do vary, however.

There are good reasons for seeking to relax Elster's strong requirements about the rationality of an agent's beliefs, if only because of the enormous burdens that are otherwise placed on the researcher. One way to do this is to take the agent's beliefs as given. In effect this means that beliefs are subjected to requirements that are no more epistemologically demanding than are preferences in the model, thereby obviating any need for the researcher to broach questions that move beyond the subjective world of the agent under study.

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