Sunday, April 04, 2010

Book Club: Explaining Social Behaviour

Jon Elster's "Explaining Social Behaviour: More Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences " was added to our reading list by Dennis Dittrich. I think this would be a perfect one for our next bookclub. Tuesday April 20 at 7.30pm in the Duke Bar once again.

The book is fascinating and contains interesting insights on nearly every one of the 500 or so pages. It begins by examining the nature of explanation and mechanisms in social sciences. The second section examines a wide range of topics grouped under the idea of "mind". The third section examines human action. The fourth section examines lessons we can draw from the natural sciences. The fifth section examines human interactions. The book is an absolute mind gym and is heavily relevant to behavioural economics, with detailed discussions of bounded rationality, hyperbolic discounting, social norms and so on. All throughout the book, there are fascinating moral and social dilemmas that lend themselves very nicely to a vigorous discussion.

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