Within a brief compass, Jon Elster covers a vast range of topics. Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences. Front Cover. Jon Elster. Cambridge University Press. acclaimed volume Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences. In twenty-six succinct chapters, Jon Elster provides an account of the nature of explanation in the. Book Reviews: Jon Elster, Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, Pp. Viii, US$ (Cloth), US$ (Paper.

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This is a remarkably lucid and comprehensive introduction to the social sciences for students of political science, philosophy, sociology and economics. Winston – – Economics and Philosophy 7 2: Return to Book Page.

Jon Elster, Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences – PhilPapers

The claims about mechanisms are more plausible, but they have minimal content. Mechanisms can either nutw horizontal — between the cause and effect — or vertical, viz. Good novels sport intelligible characters, mediocre novels stick with rational ones. Mike rated it it was amazing Apr 19, Pantelis Pipergias-Analytis rated it really liked it Sep 17, A nice example is Becker’s b demonstration that the law of demand can be shown to follow from budget constraints and purely random individual choices, showing that in the most choice based of the sciences, qnd, structural constraints play a central role.

Thanks for telling us about the problem. Of course as befits the promise of Making Sense of Marxsome of the nuts and bolts of the current volume, such as expected utility and the prisoner’s dilemma, are still mainstays of current social science. Gives a nice direction about how to think straight about it.

Jan 05, Alexander Anderson rated it really liked it. 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. No trivia or quizzes yet. Rolando Ruiz rated it really liked it May 13, He offers an overview of key explanatory mechanisms in the social ane, relying on hundreds of examples and drawing on a large variety of sources-psychology, behavioral economics, biology, political science, historical writings, philosophy and fiction.


To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Find it on Scholar. In twenty-six succinct chapters, Jon Elster provides an account of the nature of explanation in the social sciences. Along the way the quotes from the likes of Tocqueville, Montaigne and Proust add an a intellectual aesthetic like no other. Now, over twenty years later, Elster has published innumerable books, so many that Cambridge catalogues have a section entitled “Books By Jon Elster” along with their subject area categories.

Sign in to use this feature. Jul 25, Jesper Balslev rated it it was amazing Shelves: However, since many think that explanation in the physical sciences is often not about causation but instead about systematic unification, these bolrs possibilities need to be taken seriously in the social sciences as well, and obviously the issues require much more than the few sentences of analysis that Elster gives. Fundamental red for anyone who wants to engage in explaining human behavior.

Katie rated it really liked it Jul 31, Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. This book is intended as an introductory survey of the philosophy of the social sciences. The idea that human action must be explained in terms bollts the beliefs and desires of the agent is something that I would have thought empirical science had shown false long ago.

Dimensions of Philosophy Series. How can rational choice theory help us understand our motivation and behaviour? Marlene rated it it was ok Jun 23, To ask other readers questions about Explaining Social Behaviorplease sign up.


With very few exceptions the social sciences cannot rely on functional explanation, which accounts for action or behavioral patterns by citing their consequences. Elster describes the fascinating range of forms of irrationality – wishful thinking, the phenomenon of sour grapes, discounting the future in noncooperative behaviour. Explanations at the level of institutions seem often to identify causal processes not explained entirely in terms of individual behavior.

Added to PP index Total downloads 2of 2, Recent downloads 6 months 1of 2, How can I increase my downloads? More Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences.

His point of departure is the conflict we all face between our desires and our opportunities.


My library Help Advanced Book Search. An intriguing, difficult, exhausting and significant book.

The doubts about functional explanation and about structural constraints are dubious for related reasons. However, I must give credit to any author who is willing to write a tome with his name on epster promising that he will explain it.

Explaining Social Behavior: More Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences

It is essentially a work of exposition that offers amd tool box of mechanisms–nuts and bolts, cogs and wheels–that can be used to explain complex social phenomena. Natural and Social Selection.

Dean Rickles – – Philosophy in Review 28 3: Paperbackpages. I found the philosophy of social science implausible and not well defended, but the book was full of material new to me and admirable in trying to put greater content in some vague ideas in Marx.

Virtuous Decision Making for Business Ethics.