How Reason Almost Lost Its Mind: The Strange Career of Cold War Rationality
University of Chicago Press, Nov 22, 2013 - History - 272 pages
In the United States at the height of the Cold War, roughly between the end of World War II and the early 1980s, a new project of redefining rationality commanded the attention of sharp minds, powerful politicians, wealthy foundations, and top military brass. Its home was the human sciences—psychology, sociology, political science, and economics, among others—and its participants enlisted in an intellectual campaign to figure out what rationality should mean and how it could be deployed. How Reason Almost Lost Its Mind brings to life the people—Herbert Simon, Oskar Morgenstern, Herman Kahn, Anatol Rapoport, Thomas Schelling, and many others—and places, including the RAND Corporation, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the Cowles Commission for Research and Economics, and the Council on Foreign Relations, that played a key role in putting forth a “Cold War rationality.” Decision makers harnessed this picture of rationality—optimizing, formal, algorithmic, and mechanical—in their quest to understand phenomena as diverse as economic transactions, biological evolution, political elections, international relations, and military strategy. The authors chronicle and illuminate what it meant to be rational in the age of nuclear brinkmanship.
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Three Saving the Planet from Nuclear Weapons and the Human Mind
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air force Airlift algorithm allocation American Amos Tversky analysis Anatol Rapoport Archives arms control arms race Bales Bales’s Berlin biases Bounded Rationality calculation Cambridge chapter Charles cognitive Cold War rationality computers Condorcet context cooperation Cowles Commission Cuban Missile Crisis Daniel Kahneman Dantzig decision economic economists experimental figure formal game theory George Dantzig GRIT Groupthink Hamilton Harvard Herbert Herman Kahn heuristics heuristics-and-biases History human sciences Ibid intellectual Interaction irrational irrationality Janis Journal judgment Koopmans laboratory linear programming logic machines Management Science mathematical mathematicians matrix maximizing mechanical method military mind Neumann normative nuclear strategy operations research optimal Osgood Oskar Morgenstern philosophy planning players political Princeton prisoner’s dilemma game problems procedures Project SCOOP psychology RAND Corporation rational choice reason Robert Robert Freed Bales rules Schelling scientists Simon situation social science solution Soviet Union statistical Theory of Games theory’s tion two-person University Press World York