Different aspects of people's interactions with money are best conceptualized using the drug and tool theories. The key question is when these models of money are most likely to guide behavior. We suggest that the Drug Theory characterizes motivationally active uses of money and that the Tool Theory characterizes behavior in motivationally cool situations. (Published Online April 5 2006).
This paper examines six cross-sector partnerships in South Africa and Zambia. These partnerships were part of a research study undertaken between 2003 and 2005 and were selected because of their potential to contribute to poverty reduction in their respective countries. This paper examines the context in which the partnerships were established, their governance and accountability mechanisms and the engagement and participation of the partners and the intended beneficiaries in the partnerships. We argue that a partnership approach which has proven successful (...) in one context can be used as a valuable learning resource. However, a partnership's work, which includes all aspects of the partnership and its activities, cannot necessarily be transferred directly to another partnership without a thorough and locally informed analysis of the context in which it is implemented. In addition, we suggest that it is difficult to assess whether the good intentions behind partnerships were translated into real benefits for target groups as effective monitoring and evaluation procedures were not in place in the partnerships studied. Similarly, the absence of regularised governance and accountability systems in partnerships made it difficult to support partner and beneficiary participation and engagement. We conclude that there is a need to move beyond a 'one-size-fits-all' approach to partnerships and that partnership replication should focus more strongly on the transfer of learning about partnership processes instead of simply copying partnership activities. Moreover, the development of stronger mechanisms for assessing and ensuring accountability towards both partners and intended beneficiaries is required if partnerships are to meet their intended objectives. (shrink)
SOME PHILOSOPHERS (NOTABLY RICHARD SWINBURNE AND NINIAN SMART) HAVE ARGUED THAT WHILE THERE IS A LOGICAL POSSIBILITY OF A MIRACLE OCCURRING, THERE COULD NOT BE A REPEATABLE MIRACLE. I DISCUSS VARIOUS INTERPRETATIONS OF THIS CLAIM AND ARGUE THAT THERE IS NO INTERESTING SENSE IN WHICH IT IS TRUE.
The representational distortion (RD) approach to similarity (e.g., Hahn, Chater, & Richardson, 2003) proposes that similarity is computed using the transformation distance between two entities. We argue that researchers who adopt this approach need to be concerned with how representational transformations can be determined a priori. We discuss several roadblocks to using this approach. Specifically we demonstrate the difficulties inherent in determining what transformations are psychologically salient and the importance of considering the directionality of transformations.
This article argues against Jon Elster's contention that there is a fundamental incompatibility between, on the one hand, autonomy and rationality, and, on the other hand, adaptation to the conditions of one's existence in the sense that one's desires or preferences are adjusted to what it is possible to achieve. It is claimed that Elster's conclusions are premised on a defective conception of human faculties and powers, including a defective conception of human experience and rationality. Moreover, the claim is made (...) that these defects are also characteristic of "rational choice theory" more generally. (shrink)
This paper argues against Jon Elster's contention that there is a fundamentalincompatibility between, on one hand, autonomy and rationality and, on theother hand, adaptation to conditions of one's existence in the sense that one'sdesires or preferences are adjusted to what it is possible to achieve. While thefirst part of the paper more narrowly concentrated on Elster's discussion ofthese ideas, this second part goes on to a more general discussion of the conceptof rationality. On the basis of this discussion, it is (...) claimed that Elster's conclusionsconcerning autonomy and adaptation are premised on a defective conceptionof human experience and rationality. Moreover, the claim is made that thesedefects are also characteristic of "rational choice theory" more generally. (shrink)
This is a review essay about David Corfield and Jon Williamson's anthology Foundations of Bayesianism. Taken together, the fifteen essays assembled in the book assess the state of the art in Bayesianism. Such an assessment is timely, because decision theory and formal epistemology have become disciplines that are no longer taught on a routine basis in good philosophy departments. Thus we need to ask: Quo vadis, Bayesianism? The subjects of the articles include Bayesian group decision theory, approaches to the concept (...) of probability, Bayesian approaches in the philosophy of mathematics, reflections on the relationship between causation and probability, the Independence axiom, and a range of criticisms of Bayesianism, among other subjects. While critical of some of the arguments presented in the articles, this review recommends Corfield and Williamson's volume to anyone who is trying to stay abreast of Bayesian research. (shrink)
This article discusses fundamental problems in "rational choice theory," as outlined by Jon Elster. Elster's discussion of why institutions may not be said to act shows his fundamental presupposition that only "monolithic," unitary entities are capable of action. This is, for him, a reason why only individual human beings may be said to act. Furthermore, human beings may be said to act only insofar as they "maximize" (their "utility") on the basis of a unitary, complete, consistent "preference structure." All action (...) that is not maximization in this sense is for Elster not really human action, but rather instances of "pure causality." Elster distinguishes between the "real," intentional person, who "maximizes," and "purely causal forces" within the person. This article tries to show that this radical, sharp dichotomy between "intentionality," in this narrow sense, and "pure causality" is inadequate as a basis for understanding human action. This radical dichotomy is central to important arguments made by Elster more generally. (shrink)
Jon Fjeld wrote a paper that he begins by nicely outlining why various criticisms of Fred Sommers theory of types and categories fail. Fjeld puts forth a criticism that avoids the problems with these other criticisms. But, it is argued, his criticism also fails.
Adaptive preferences are preferences formed in response to circumstances and opportunities – paradigmatically, they occur when we scale back our desires so they accord with what is probable or at least possible. While few commentators are willing to wholly reject the normative significance of such preferences, adaptive preferences have nevertheless attracted substantial criticism in recent political theory. The groundbreaking analysis of Jon Elster charged that such preferences are not autonomous, and several other commentators have since followed Elster’s lead. On a (...) second front, Capacity Theorists Martha Nussbaum and Amartya Sen have objected that adaptive preferences lead people away from objective goods and constitute an impediment to progressive change in developing countries. In this paper I argue that the criticisms of Elster, Sen and Nussbaum fail on the one hand to take into account what may be positively said in favour of this type of preference formation, and fail on the other hand to distinguish between different types of psychological changes – with the result that many of the critiques offered have a narrower purview than is currently allowed. My analysis of adaptive preferences, even in their most ideal form, is however not entirely positive; I adduce reasons why we can be cautious about allowing adaptive preferences to play certain types of roles in political processes, even as we accept those very preferences as normative and autonomous for the agent holding them. [International scholars without access to the AJPAE are invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org for a pdf copy of this article.]. (shrink)