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Indeterminacy and Society


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Table of Contents

PREFACE ix ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xi Chapter 1. Indeterminacy 1 Strategic Interaction 3 Ordinalism 9 Mutual Advantage: The Collective Implication of Self-Interest 12 Concluding Remarks 14 Chapter 2. Beyond Basic Rationality 16 Basic Rationality 17 Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma 20 Dominance 25 Equilibrium 28 Contract by Convention 32 Nuclear Arms Control 34 Against Determinacy 36 Concluding Remarks 38 Chapter 3. Mutual Advantage 41 Social Order 42 Ex Ante Mutual Advantage 44 Institutional and Policy Choice 46 Policies 51 Concluding Remarks 53 Chapter 4. The Greatest Sum 55 Subjective Benthamite Utility 58 Labor Theory of Value 60 Wealth Maximization 62 Mutual Advantage and Interpersonal Comparisons 63 Ordinal Utilitarianism 65 Concluding Remarks 68 Chapter 5. Marginal Determinacy 70 Indeterminacy on the Frontier 71 Marginal versus Fundamental Values 74 Transaction Costs 78 Concluding Remarks 79 Chapter 6. Rules for Determinacy 81 Rules 83 A Kantian Principle 87 Institutional Decisions 93 Public Policy 96 Concluding Remarks 98 Chapter 7. Indeterminate Justice 102 Equality versus Productive Efficiency 106 Justice as Fairness 108 Mutual Advantage 109 Justice as Fairness and the Coase Theorem 111 Resources 112 Primary Goods 114 The Difference Principle 116 Concluding Remarks 118 Chapter 8. Mechanical Determinacy 121 Marginalism 123 Two-Stage Theory 125 Institutional Fallibility 127 Institutions as Meliorative 131 Contractarian Arguments 134 Concluding Remarks 135 APPENDIX TO CHAPTER 2: DETERMINACY IN ITERATED PRISONER'S DILEMMA 139 APPENDIX TO CHAPTER 4: INDIVIDUALLY CARDINAL UTILITY 141 NOTES 143 REFERENCES 151 INDEX 159

Promotional Information

Russell Hardin shows us the need to face the consequences of indeterminacy. Maximization of independent variables is impossible, standard decision theory is unreal (as is Rawls's theory of justice), and there are no easy answers--though 'ordinary people manage to get through life most of the time.' Combining theoretical virtuosity with common sense, this is one of the essential books of our time. -- Jan Narveson, University of Waterloo This is an important and first-rate piece of work. Russell Hardin is right to assert that ignoring inescapable indeterminacy is a mistake. The issues he raises are momentous and timely, both in the realm of abstract economic, political, and moral theory, as well as in the study and practice of public policy. So Hardin's frontal attack deserves (and needs) to be considered. -- Christopher W. Morris, author of "An Essay on the Modern State"

About the Author

Russell Hardin is Professor of Politics at New York University. He is the author of numerous books including "One for All" (Princeton), "Liberalism, Constitutionalism, and Democracy", and "Morality within the Limits of Reason".


"Indeterminacy and Society is a welcome addition to social theory. Hardin does an admirable job of demonstrating why indeterminacy cannot be ignored, and helps lay the foundations of a mutual advantage theory that takes indeterminacy seriously."--Colin Farrelly, Philosophy in Review "Hardin shows us the importance of recognizing indeterminacy for a wide range of theories, from rational choice to deontological moral theory. The significance of this work for political and moral philosophy should not be underestimated."--Sarah Marshall, Philosophical Quarterly "This book achieves an unusual feat of balance--conveying both the profundity and the limitations of attempts to use rational choice tools to address grand questions about ideal social organization."--Steven Rytina, American Journal of Sociology

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