Individuality and Entanglement: The Moral and Material Bases of Social Life

Princeton University Press
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A richly transdisciplinary account of some fundamental characteristics of human societies and behavior

In this book, acclaimed economist Herbert Gintis ranges widely across many fields—including economics, psychology, anthropology, sociology, moral philosophy, and biology—to provide a rigorous transdisciplinary explanation of some fundamental characteristics of human societies and social behavior. Because such behavior can be understood only through transdisciplinary research, Gintis argues, Individuality and Entanglement advances the effort to unify the behavioral sciences by developing a shared analytical framework—one that bridges research on gene-culture coevolution, the rational-actor model, game theory, and complexity theory. At the same time, the book persuasively demonstrates the rich possibilities of such transdisciplinary work.

Everything distinctive about human social life, Gintis argues, flows from the fact that we construct and then play social games. Indeed, society itself is a game with rules, and politics is the arena in which we affirm and change these rules. Individuality is central to our species because the rules do not change through inexorable macrosocial forces. Rather, individuals band together to change the rules. Our minds are also socially entangled, producing behavior that is socially rational, although it violates the standard rules of individually rational choice. Finally, a moral sense is essential for playing games with socially constructed rules. People generally play by the rules, are ashamed when they break the rules, and are offended when others break the rules, even in societies that lack laws, government, and jails.

Throughout the book, Gintis shows that it is only by bringing together the behavioral sciences that such basic aspects of human behavior can be understood.

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About the author

Herbert Gintis is an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute. He is the author, coauthor, or coeditor of a number of books, including Game Theory Evolving, The Bounds of Reason, Unequal Chances, A Cooperative Species, and Game Theory in Action (all Princeton).
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Additional Information

Princeton University Press
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Published on
Oct 18, 2016
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Best For
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Business & Economics / Consumer Behavior
Business & Economics / Decision-Making & Problem Solving
Business & Economics / Economics / Theory
Mathematics / Game Theory
Political Science / General
Social Science / Anthropology / Cultural & Social
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Ordinary Affects is a singular argument for attention to the affective dimensions of everyday life and the potential that animates the ordinary. Known for her focus on the poetics and politics of language and landscape, the anthropologist Kathleen Stewart ponders how ordinary impacts create the subject as a capacity to affect and be affected. In a series of brief vignettes combining storytelling, close ethnographic detail, and critical analysis, Stewart relates the intensities and banalities of common experiences and strange encounters, half-spied scenes and the lingering resonance of passing events. While most of the instances rendered are from Stewart’s own life, she writes in the third person in order to reflect on how intimate experiences of emotion, the body, other people, and time inextricably link us to the outside world.

Stewart refrains from positing an overarching system—whether it’s called globalization or neoliberalism or capitalism—to describe the ways that economic, political, and social forces shape individual lives. Instead, she begins with the disparate, fragmented, and seemingly inconsequential experiences of everyday life to bring attention to the ordinary as an integral site of cultural politics. Ordinary affect, she insists, is registered in its particularities, yet it connects people and creates common experiences that shape public feeling. Through this anecdotal history—one that poetically ponders the extremes of the ordinary and portrays the dense network of social and personal connections that constitute a life—Stewart asserts the necessity of attending to the fleeting and changeable aspects of existence in order to recognize the complex personal and social dynamics of the political world.

This book combines chapters written by leading social psychologists and economists, illuminating the developing trends in explaining and understanding economic behavior in a social world.

It provides insights from both fields, communicated by eloquent scholars, and demonstrates through recent research and theory how economic behaviors may be more effectively examined using a combination of both fields.

Social Psychology and Economics comes at a particularly fitting time, as a psychological approach to economics has begun to flourish in recent years, and papers exploring the intersection of these two disciplines have appeared in peer-reviewed journals, opening a dynamic dialogue between previously separated fields.

This volume, the first in the Society for Judgment and Decision Making Series since acquired by Psychology Press, includes chapters by economists and psychologists. It addresses a variety of economic phenomena within a social context, such as scarcity and materialism, emphasizing the importance of integrating social psychology and economics.

Social Psychology and Economics is arranged in seven parts that discuss:

an introduction to the topic; preferences, utility, and choice; emotions; reciprocity, cooperation, and fairness; social distance; challenges to social psychology and economics; and collaborative reflections and projections.

The market for this book is students, researchers, and professionals in the disciplines of economics, psychology, business, and behavioral decision making. Graduate students and upper-level undergraduate students will consider it a useful supplemental text.

Tradition recognises five social sciences: anthropology, economies, social psychology, sociology, and political science. But who knows what is going on in all five disciplines? Social scientists from one discipline often know little or nothing about the progress made by social scientists from another discipline working on essentially the same social problem. Sometimes, even of a neighbouring discipline is terra incognita. the methodology The problem becomes worse when we widen the remit to natural scientists and engineers. I have found little evidence myself that they see themselves as standing on the other side of an unbridgeable golf between two cultures. They observe the intellectual excesses of those few 'newage' social scientists who see themselves fighting a 'science war', but the ignorance of these innumerate critics is so apparent in their grossly naive attacks on natural science, that they are not taken seriously. However, although natural scientists appreciate that most social science is genuine science, they seldom know much about how and why it is done as it iso This can lead to serious inefficiencies in areas in which the traditional frontiers between social and natural science are melting away. An example is the frontier between the economies of imperfeet competition and evolutionary biology. Reversing the usual bias, the evolutionary biologists commonly know little mathematics, and hence find the game theory literature hard to read, with the result that they often spend their time re-inventing the wheel.
The widely adopted, now classic book on influence and persuasion—a major national and international bestseller with more than four million copies sold!

In this highly acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Dr. Robert B. Cialdini—the seminal expert in the field of influence and persuasion—explains the psychology of why people say yes and how to apply these principles ethically in business and everyday situations.

You’ll learn the six universal principles of influence and how to use them to become a skilled persuader—and, just as importantly, how to defend yourself against dishonest influence attempts:

Reciprocation: The internal pull to repay what another person has provided us.Commitment and Consistency: Once we make a choice or take a stand, we work to behave consistently with that commitment in order to justify our decisions.Social Proof: When we are unsure, we look to similar others to provide us with the correct actions to take. And the more, people undertaking that action, the more we consider that action correct.Liking: The propensity to agree with people we like and, just as important, the propensity for others to agree with us, if we like them.Authority: We are more likely to say “yes” to others who are authorities, who carry greater knowledge, experience or expertise.Scarcity: We want more of what is less available or dwindling in availability.

Understanding and applying the six principles ethically is cost-free and deceptively easy. Backed by Dr. Cialdini’s 35 years of evidence-based, peer-reviewed scientific research—as well as by a three-year field study on what moves people to change behavior—Influence is a comprehensive guide to using these principles effectively to amplify your ability to change the behavior of others.

Since its original publication in 2000, Game Theory Evolving has been considered the best textbook on evolutionary game theory. This completely revised and updated second edition of Game Theory Evolving contains new material and shows students how to apply game theory to model human behavior in ways that reflect the special nature of sociality and individuality. The textbook continues its in-depth look at cooperation in teams, agent-based simulations, experimental economics, the evolution and diffusion of preferences, and the connection between biology and economics.

Recognizing that students learn by doing, the textbook introduces principles through practice. Herbert Gintis exposes students to the techniques and applications of game theory through a wealth of sophisticated and surprisingly fun-to-solve problems involving human and animal behavior. The second edition includes solutions to the problems presented and information related to agent-based modeling. In addition, the textbook incorporates instruction in using mathematical software to solve complex problems. Game Theory Evolving is perfect for graduate and upper-level undergraduate economics students, and is a terrific introduction for ambitious do-it-yourselfers throughout the behavioral sciences.

Revised and updated edition relevant for courses across disciplines
Perfect for graduate and upper-level undergraduate economics courses
Solutions to problems presented throughout
Incorporates instruction in using computational software for complex problem solving
Includes in-depth discussions of agent-based modeling
The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. Other animals have stronger muscles or sharper claws, but we have cleverer brains. If machine brains one day come to surpass human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become very powerful. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on us humans than on the gorillas themselves, so the fate of our species then would come to depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence. But we have one advantage: we get to make the first move. Will it be possible to construct a seed AI or otherwise to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could one achieve a controlled detonation? To get closer to an answer to this question, we must make our way through a fascinating landscape of topics and considerations. Read the book and learn about oracles, genies, singletons; about boxing methods, tripwires, and mind crime; about humanity's cosmic endowment and differential technological development; indirect normativity, instrumental convergence, whole brain emulation and technology couplings; Malthusian economics and dystopian evolution; artificial intelligence, and biological cognitive enhancement, and collective intelligence. This profoundly ambitious and original book picks its way carefully through a vast tract of forbiddingly difficult intellectual terrain. Yet the writing is so lucid that it somehow makes it all seem easy. After an utterly engrossing journey that takes us to the frontiers of thinking about the human condition and the future of intelligent life, we find in Nick Bostrom's work nothing less than a reconceptualization of the essential task of our time.
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