Choice Theory: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Michael Allingham

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191579262

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 144

View: 7090

We make choices all the time - about trivial matters, about how to spend our money, about how to spend our time, about what to do with our lives. And we are also constantly judging the decisions other people make as rational or irrational. But what kind of criteria are we applying when we say that a choice is rational? What guides our own choices, especially in cases where we don't have complete information about the outcomes? What strategies should be applied in making decisions which affect a lot of people, as in the case of government policy? This book explores what it means to be rational in all these contexts. It introduces ideas from economics, philosophy, and other areas, showing how the theory applies to decisions in everyday life, and to particular situations such as gambling and the allocation of resources. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Choice Theory: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Michael Allingham

Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks

ISBN: 0192803034

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 144

View: 6093

This book explores what it means to be rational in a variety of contexts, from personal decisions to those affecting large groups of people. It introduces ideas from economics, philosophy, and other areas, showing how the theory applies to particular situations such as gambling and the allocation of resources.

Game Theory: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Ken Binmore

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191579580

Category: Mathematics

Page: 200

View: 1345

Games are everywhere: Drivers manoeuvring in heavy traffic are playing a driving game. Bargain hunters bidding on eBay are playing an auctioning game. A firm negotiating next year's wage is playing a bargaining game. The opposing candidates in an election are playing a political game. The supermarket's price for corn flakes is decided by playing an economic game. Game theory is about how to play such games in a rational way. Even when the players have not thought everything out in advance, game theory often works for the same reason that mindless animals sometimes end up behaving very cleverly: evolutionary forces eliminate irrational play because it is unfit. Game theory has seen spectacular successes in evolutionary biology and economics, and is beginning to revolutionize other disciplines from psychology to political science. This Very Short Introduction introduces the fascinating world of game theory, showing how it can be understood without mathematical equations, and revealing that everything from how to play poker optimally to the sex ratio among bees can be understood by anyone willing to think seriously about the problem. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Critical Theory: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Stephen Eric Bronner

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190692693

Category: Philosophy

Page: 168

View: 4709

Critical theory emerged in the 1920s from the work of the Frankfurt School, the circle of German-Jewish academics who sought to diagnose -- and, if at all possible, cure -- the ills of society, particularly fascism and capitalism. In this book, Stephen Eric Bronner provides sketches of leading representatives of the critical tradition (such as George Lukács and Ernst Bloch, Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse and Jurgen Habermas) as well as many of its seminal texts and empirical investigations. This Very Short Introduction sheds light on the cluster of concepts and themes that set critical theory apart from its more traditional philosophical competitors. Bronner explains and discusses concepts such as method and agency, alienation and reification, the culture industry and repressive tolerance, non-identity and utopia. He argues for the introduction of new categories and perspectives for illuminating the obstacles to progressive change and focusing upon hidden transformative possibilities. In this newly updated second edition, Bronner targets new academic interests, broadens his argument, and adapts it to a global society amid the resurgence of right-wing politics and neo-fascist movements.

Economics: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Partha Dasgupta

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 9780191578281

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 192

View: 6489

Economics has the capacity to offer us deep insights into some of the most formidable problems of life, and offer solutions to them too. Combining a global approach with examples from everyday life, Partha Dasgupta describes the lives of two children who live very different lives in different parts of the world: in the Mid-West USA and in Ethiopia. He compares the obstacles facing them, and the processes that shape their lives, their families, and their futures. He shows how economics uncovers these processes, finds explanations for them, and how it forms policies and solutions. Along the way, Dasgupta provides an intelligent and accessible introduction to key economic factors and concepts such as individual choices, national policies, efficiency, equity, development, sustainability, dynamic equilibrium, property rights, markets, and public goods. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Symmetry: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Ian Stewart

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0199651981

Category: Mathematics

Page: 160

View: 7274

Symmetry is an immensely important concept in mathematics and throughout the sciences. In this Very Short Introduction, Ian Stewart highlights the deep implications of symmetry and its important scientific applications across the entire subject.

Risk: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Baruch Fischhoff,John Kadvany

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199576203

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 162

View: 5229

Risks are everywhere. They come from many sources, including crime, diseases, accidents, terror, climate change, finance, and intimacy. They arise from our own acts and they are imposed on us. In this Very Short Introduction Fischhoff and Kadvany draw on both the sciences and humanities to show what all risks have in common. Do we care about losing money, health, reputation, or peace of mind? How much do we care about things happening now or in the future? To ourselves or to others? All risks require thinking hard about what matters to us before we make decisions about them based on past experience, scientific knowledge, and future uncertainties. Using conceptual frameworks such as decision theory and behavioural decision research, we examine the science and practice of creating measures of risk and look at how scientists apply probability by combining historical records, scientific theories, and expert judgement. Showing what science has learned about how people deal with risks, and applying these to diverse everyday examples, the authors demonstrate how we move from understanding a risk to making a choice in everyday life.

Choice Theory: A Simple Introduction

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Author: K.H. Erickson

Publisher: K.H. Erickson

ISBN: N.A

Category: Mathematics

Page: 100

View: 9041

Choice Theory: A Simple Introduction offers an accessible guide to the central theories and methods of choice theory, with examples and calculations, empirical evidence, and over 20 diagrams to support the analysis. Examine expected value theory, with the two envelopes problem and St. Petersburg paradox which challenge it. Understand expected utility theory and learn how to create a utility function, and assess the Ellsberg paradox, Allais paradox, and preference reversal phenomenon. Look at risk neutral, risk seeking and risk averse attitudes, explore original, cumulative and third generation prospect theory, and the role of risk sensitivity and loss aversion. Evaluate zero-sum games, minimax and maximin strategies, and see how a mixed minimax strategy can overcome game outcome cycles. Understand auction theory, with the revenue equivalence theorem for English, Dutch, and sealed bid private value auctions, and how bidders may avoid the winner’s curse in common value auctions. Examine voting theory, with voter preferences, the median voter theorem, Condorcet winner, and Condorcet voting cycles. See how voters or government can manipulate the voting system.

Free Will: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Thomas Pink

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0192853589

Category: Philosophy

Page: 132

View: 538

Every day we seem to make and act upon all kinds of free choices - but are these choices really free? Or are we compelled to act the way we do by factors beyond our control? This book looks at free will.

Microeconomics

A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Avinash Dixit

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199689377

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 131

View: 3908

The issues of microeconomics - including individuals' financial choices and firms' decisions about hiring and firing - have a large impact on the economic world, arguably as much, if not more than, macroeconomics. In this Very Short Introduction Avinash Dixit clearly explains what microeconomics is by using examples from around the world.

Sociolinguistics: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: John Edwards

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199858624

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 240

View: 9940

Sociolinguistics deals with the social life of language, language in its sociocultural context. It is a branch of linguistics that looks less at the shape or sound of words--morphology or phonology--and more at how our words and sentences are influenced by the society around us--for instance, how the accent or the dialect we use has been shaped by where we come from or which social class we belong to. In this Very Short Introduction, John Edwards offers the most up-to-date brief overview available of sociolinguistics, with side trips into the sociology of language and psycholinguistics. He considers such topics as the different social evaluations of languages and dialects, the loaded significance of names, and the importance of politically-driven language planning and policy. The relationship between language and gender, sexist language, the language of poverty, and the intertwining of language and religion are also dealt with here. Edwards stresses that, while linguists see all dialects as equally valid, in the wider world powerful attitudes have always placed language varieties in social hierarchies. The author also looks at language more broadly, examining the ways in which languages rise or fall, the attempts to revive flagging or endangered varieties, the reasons why some languages came to dominate others, and the special dynamics that affect contact between "big" and "small" languages. In both its role as our most powerful tool of communication and as the most immediate symbolic marker of human affiliation, language is pre-eminently a social phenomenon. This compact volume offers an invaluable introduction to this vital aspect of language. About the Series: Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.

Behavioural Economics

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Author: Michelle Baddeley

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 019875499X

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 160

View: 7921

Traditionally economists have based their economic predictions on the assumption that humans are super-rational creatures, using the information we are given efficiently and generally making selfish decisions that work well for us as individuals. Economists also assume that we're doing thevery best we can possibly do - not only for today, but over our whole lifetimes too. But increasingly the study of behavioural economics is revealing that our lives are not that simple. Instead, our decisions are complicated by our own psychology. Each of us makes mistakes every day. We don't alwaysknow what's best for us and, even if we do, we might not have the self-control to deliver on our best intentions. We struggle to stay on diets, to get enough exercise and to manage our money. We misjudge risky situations. We are prone to herding: sometimes peer pressure leads us blindly to copyothers around us; other times copying others helps us to learn quickly about new, unfamiliar situations. This Very Short Introduction explores the reasons why we make irrational decisions; how we decide quickly; why we make mistakes in risky situations; our tendency to procrastination; and how we are affected by social influences, personality, mood and emotions. The implications of understanding therationale for our own financial behaviour are huge. Behavioural economics could help policy-makers to understand the people behind their policies, enabling them to design more effective policies, while at the same time we could find ourselves assaulted by increasingly savvy marketing. MichelleBaddeley concludes by looking forward, to see what the future of behavioural economics holds for us.ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, andenthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Revolutions: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Jack A. Goldstone

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199858500

Category: History

Page: 148

View: 8202

This volume places recent events in Iraq and Afghanistan to Tunisia and Egypt in historical context. It provides a history of revolutions and insurgencies, an introduction to the way social scientists think about the causes and outcomes of revolutions, and an explanation of their significance in historical and political change. Jack A. Goldstone begins with a brief history of revolutions and insurgencies, from the revolutions that brought democracy to Greek city-states and led to thefounding of Rome through the major peasant revolts of the Middle Ages in Europe and China, and the Independence revolts in the Americas. He also touches upon the insurgencies in Latin America (Zapatistas and FARC) and Asia (in Malaysia and the Philippines), whose failure is instructive in understanding why revolts succeed or fail. The book then discusses types of revolutions and their causes; the radical social revolutions in France, Russia, and China; the revolutions for independence in Indiaand Algeria; revolutions against dictators in Mexico, Cuba, and Iran; and the so-called color revolutions in Czechoslovakia, Ukraine, and Georgia. Goldstone considers some of the key revolutionary leaders of history where they came from, what inspired them, and how they changed their societies. A diverse range of popular groups have carried revolutions: peasants, miners, urban craftsmen, professionals, students, and mothers, all treated here. A chapter on insurgency and counter-insurgencycovers Iraq and Afghanistan. Finally, Goldstone grapples with the outcomes of revolutions: whether they are associated with the rise of freedom and democracy, devastating ideological dictatorships, or something inconclusive. He examines the historical legacies of revolutions, in the areas of freedom, economic growth, women's rights, and minority rights. Revolutions have succeeded enough to feed dreams of freedom, but failed often enough to prompt caution.

Marine Biology: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Philip V. Mladenov

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199695059

Category: Science

Page: 156

View: 3087

In this Very Short Introduction, Philip Mladenov provides a fascinating overview of marine biology. Including a tour of marine life and marine processes that ranges from the polar oceans to tropical coral reefs, he outlines the principles of marine biology whilst demonstrating the fundamental impact humans have on the oceans and their ecology.

History: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: John Arnold

Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks

ISBN: 019285352X

Category: History

Page: 134

View: 7300

Starting with an examination of how historians work, this "Very Short Introduction" aims to explore history in a general, pithy, and accessible manner, rather than to delve into specific periods.

Fractals: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: K. J. Falconer

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199675988

Category: Mathematics

Page: 132

View: 6886

An essential discussion of the popular science and mathematics behind fractals reveals how fractal shapes can be found everywhere in nature from clouds to coastlines, explaining how basic concepts in fractal geometry produced a revolution in mathematical understandings of patterns in the 20th century. Original.

Habermas: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: James Gordon Finlayson

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0192840959

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 156

View: 8247

This book provides a clear and readable overview of the works of today's most influential German philosopher. It analyses the theoretical underpinnings of Habermas's social theory, and its applications in ethics, politics, and law. Finally, it examines how his social and political theory informs his writing on contemporary, political, and social problems.

Freud: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Anthony Storr

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191606650

Category: Psychology

Page: 176

View: 9099

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) revolutionized the way in which we think about ourselves. From its beginnings as a theory of neurosis, Freud developed psycho-analysis into a general psychology which became widely accepted as the predominant mode of discussing personality and interpersonal relationships. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Continental Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Simon Critchley

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191578320

Category: Philosophy

Page: 168

View: 7543

Simon Critchley's Very Short Introduction shows that Continental philosophy encompasses a distinct set of philosophical traditions and practices, with a compelling range of problems all too often ignored by the analytic tradition. He discusses the ideas and approaches of philosophers such as Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Habermas, Foucault, and Derrida, and introduces key concepts such as existentialism, nihilism, and phenomenology by explaining their place in the Continental tradition. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.