Rationality and the Analysis of International Conflict
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Rationality and the Analysis of International Conflict

4.66 (3 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

In this book, Professor Nicholson outlines social scientific approaches to international relations and then describes the problems of rational decision-making in conflict situations. He shows how rationality is in many strategic situations hard to define and often leads to paradoxes such as the prisoners' dilemma. In the following part the author explores rational beliefs about the international system. He examines theories of arms races, alliances and the international problems of ecology. Here he is critical of the classical school of international relations for a lack of rigour in dealing with the problems of evidence and belief. Finally, Michael Nicholson discusses the philosophy of science, policy and ethics. This book is both an exposition and a defence of a social scientific approach to international relations. With its emphasis on social scientific approaches, theory building and testing - and above all its clarity and accessibility - it provides students with a key to understanding the complex field of conflict analysis.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 280 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 16mm | 420g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Worked examples or Exercises
  • 052139810X
  • 9780521398107
  • 2,413,333

Back cover copy

After outlining social scientific approaches to international relations, the author describes the problems of rational decision making in conflict situations. He shows how rationality is in many strategic situations hard to define and often leads to paradoxes such as the prisoners' dilemma. Psychological stress can further result in the distortion of decision processes in time of crisis.
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Table of contents

Preface; Introduction: rationality and the analysis of conflict; Part I. Conflict: 1. Concepts of conflict; 2. Social science and the study of conflict; Part II. Rational Behaviour: 3. Rationality and Conflict; 4. Conflict and the paradoxes of rationality; 5. The zero-sum game: solutions and interpretations; 6. Emotion and rationality; 7. International crises: the warping of rationality; Rational behaviour and rational choice: an assessment; Part III. Rational Belief: Some Topics in Conflict Analysis: 8. The statistical analysis of warlike phenomena; 9. Arms and arms races; 10. Ecology and the free-rider; 11. The theory of alliances; Part IV. Conclusion: 12. The critics; 13. Social science and values; References; Index.
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Review quote

'The work explores, from a philosophical basis, the various aspects of rationality, as well as its inherent dilemmas, as applied to the study of the arms race as well as to that of alliances, in most cases ending up with persuasively common sense-like suggestions ... the work is not overburdened with mathematical formulae, but for the most part written in a fluent style, appealing to the layman as well as the specialist.' Nod and Conversion
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Rating details

3 ratings
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