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Ulysses Unbound: Studies in Rationality, Precommitment, and Constraints Paperback – 12 Jan 2008

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Product Description


"All three sections of the book are rich in historical examples. Elster is very good at illustrating his points with concrete cases, at seeing connections among disparate fields, and at steering discussions in novel and very suggestive directions. ... Elster is at his best in raising interesting questions for further interdisciplinary research." The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

Book Description

The three long essays that constitute this book revise and expand the ideas developed in Jon Elster's classic study Ulysses and the Sirens. Elster shows how seemingly disparate examples which limit freedom of action reveal similar patterns, so much so that he proposes a new field of study: constraint theory. The book will interest professionals and students in philosophy, political science, psychology, and economics.

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9198d9f0) out of 5 stars 1 review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9198fdc8) out of 5 stars Why countries promulgate constitutions 18 Jan. 2011
By Arnold - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Jon Elster's Ulysses Unbound: Studies in Rationality, Precommitment, and Constraints takes a hard-nosed approach to the question of why governments would agree to commit themselves under a constitution. His analogy of Ulysses bound while passing the sirens is extremely helpful. The book is filled with both theoretical insights and discussions of cases from not only the U.S., but also Europe. Not only does it discuss the usual reasons for precommitment (e.g., tempering passions, efficiency), but it also explores their relationship with commitment mechanisms (e.g., delay, supermajority). No wonder this has become a classic in the comparative constitutions field.
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