Rational Decision

Front Cover
Carl Joachim Friedrich
AldineTransaction, 2007 - Political Science - 228 pages

To a historian the most interesting thing about decisions is the fact that everyone talks about them. No one interested in social ideas can fail to notice how large a part the word "decision" has come to play in the vocabulary of moral and political discourse. It meets one on every page. Inevitably one asks, "Why?" Why is there so much talk of decisions and of those who are said to make them? Are there any ideological reasons for it?

In asking such questions, and in offering "ideology" as an explanation, nothing complex or pejorative is implied by Friedrich. He uses "ideology" to refer to personal responses to what is regarded as a prevalent social situation and to the efforts to critically explain and evaluate that situation, whether the latter be real, imagined, or a bit of both. An investigation of the ideological aspects of political concepts is, clearly, not the only way to explain them, but this and similar genetic explorations can show us how and why large numbers of people come to concentrate on specific issues.

If such explorations can tell us little about the validity of political ideas, they can still provide a degree of self-understanding without which political thought is apt to become complacent, irrelevant, and excessively abstract. There is nothing denigrating in recognizing the ideological perimeter within which political ideas move. It will seem so to only those of us who identify the worth and rationality of our thinking with its remoteness from our own experiences, and especially from those that we share with our less reflective neighbors.

The topic of rational decision-making presents the student of philosophical politics with the vast and inexhaustible problem of rationality in its relation to decision-making. The present interest in decision-making among social scientists has tended to apply inadequate attention to the application of rationality to the process.

Carl J. Friedrich was Eaton Professor of the Science of Government, Harvard University. During World War II he helped found the School of Overseas Administration at Harvard to train officers for work in military government abroad. He was professor of political science at the University of Heidelberg from 1956 to 1966, where he founded and helped to develop the Institut fr Politische Wissenschaft. He served as president of the American Political Science Association in 1962, the International Political Science Association from 1967-1970, and the Institut international de philosophie politique.

 

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Contents

GENERAL ISSUES OF RATIONAL DECISION
1
DECISIONISM
3
DECISIONISM AND SEPARATISM IN SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY
18
LOGICS OF RATIONALITY IN UNANIMOUS DECISIONMAKING
26
SOME LIMITATIONS ON RATIONALITY
55
LAW AS DECISIONMAKING
65
THE LIMITED RATIONALITY OF LAW
67
THE SEPARATION OF LEGAL AND MORAL DECISIONS
89
THE PLACE OF PRACTICAL REASON IN JUDICIAL DECISION
126
POLITICAL PRIVACY THE COURTS AND THE WORLDS OF REASON AND OF LIFE
145
WHEN THE SUPREME COURT SUBORDINATES JUDICIAL REASON TO LEGISLATION
160
HISTORICAL REFLECTIONS
175
ON REREADING MACHIAVELLI AND ALTHUSIUS REASON RATIONALITY AND RELIGION
177
RATIONALITY AND REPRESENTATION IN BURKES BRISTOL SPEECH
197
RATIONAL DECISIONS AND INTRINSIC VALUATIONS
217
RATIONALITY OF VALUE JUDGMENTS
221

REASON IN LEGISLATIVE DECISIONS
98
JUDICIAL DECISIONS AND THEIR RATIONALITY
107
RATIONALITY IN JUDICIAL DECISIONS
109
SOME LIMITATIONS ON RATIONALITY A COMMENT
224
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About the author (2007)

Carl J. Friedrich was Eaton Professor of the Science of Government, Harvard University. During World War II he helped found the School of Overseas Administration at Harvard to train officers for work in military government abroad. He was professor of political science at the University of Heidelberg from 1956 to 1966, where he founded and helped to develop the Institut for Politische Wissenschaft. He served as president of the American Political Science Association in 1962, the International Political Science Association from 1967-1970, and the Institut international de philosophie politique.

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