With Congress expected to pass its first bipartisan budget in years, renewed focus has fallen on the tactics that brought it about. These tactics may be puzzling (or alarming), but according to author Tim Harford, they’re not new: They’re rooted in game theory. He suggests reading Thomas Schelling’s The Strategy of Conflict to learn more.
Tagged with “theory” (114)
Max Weber – 1864 – 1920 Karl Maximilian Weber was born 21st April 1864 in Erfurt, Thurniga, Germany.
Weber has been described as many things, including sociologist, political economist, historian and social scientist. For historians, his work on the history and sociology of religion has been important in shaping our understanding of capitalism, modernisation and state power.
So, who was he?
He was born into a wealthy family – his home life was incredibly engaging – both his mother and father were highly educated and their house was often visited by academics, civil servants and liberal politicians.
He enrolled at the University of Heidelburg in ‘82, where he held down a legal apprenticeship while continuing to study and write about economic history. He took a year out to complete his military service before then going to the University of Berlin.
He gained his doctorate in ’89 by writing about medieval business organisation and roman agrarian economics. Two years later, having officially becoming a doctor, he worked as part of the faculty at the Universty of Berlin, lecturing and acting as a consultant for the government.
The 1890s were the possibly the most tumultuous of Weber’s life and career. He had been forced to live in his parents’ home for much of his adult life because he could not make enough money while continuing to study. After his marriage to his distant cousin, Marianne Schnitger, he was able to leave home and take up a professorship in Freiburg. She would come to be his biographer and archivist, and became an important feminist scholar in her own right.
In ’96 he moved to Heidelburg and created what became known as the “Weber Circle” with his wife, Georg Jellinek, Ernst Troeltsch, Werner Sombart, Marc Bloch (!), Robert Michels and György Lukács. But it was in ’97 that the most traumatic event would occur. Weber had a nervous breakdown and had to cease all teaching. He spent most of the latter half of 1900 in a sanatorium, and, although he tried to come back to Heidelburg in 1902, he retired again after just a year. He would not return to academia proper until after the War.
In 1903, now free from the obligations of an academic post, he became editor of Archives for Social Science and Social Welfare, and a year later wrote his most famous work The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.
When the War broke out, Weber was not in a fit state for active service, but he was able to organise the hospital system in Heidelburg. Initially he had supported the war, believing the Russian regime to be corrupt and medieval. He preferred a liberal empire on the model of Prussia or Great Britain. His views soon changed, however, and he left his job with the army in 1915, becoming a major critic of the Kaiser’s expansionist policies.
After the War, Weber had a reputation as one of the most brilliant minds of his age. He was asked to help draft the Weimar Constitution and was a German representative at the Paris peace conference. Controversially, he defended “Article 48” which gave the president significant powers of veto in a crisis, something Adolf Hitler would later use to dismantle the Weimar government in the 1930s. Nevertheless, his international reputation as an academic remained strong.
He stood as an MP, but failed to get elected. Weber moved to Munich where he became head of the new sociology faculty. However, late in 1919 he contracted Spanish Flu, an epidemic that raged through Europe after the end of the War. He became seriously ill, contracted pneumonia, and died on 14th June 1920.
Posthumously, his wife Marianne prepared his manuscripts and other writings for publication as his great work Economy and Society, which he had been working on in his final years. Along with Protestant Ethic this is seen as one of Weber’s seminal works, although it was not fully translated into English until the late 1960s.
Weber has had a profound effect on history and the way we see power, society and modernity. His influence on men such as Marc Bloch, Max Horkheimer and Jürgen Habermas is significant, and along with Karl Marx and Emile Durkheim he is seen as one of the founders of the discipline of sociology. In his philosophy we see the beginnings of Critical Theory, a critique of enlightenment and modernity which would go on to influence much left-wing post-war scholarship.
Rise of the West (http://www.riseofthewest.net/thinkers/weber03.htm)
Max Weber: an intellectual portrait by Reinhard Bendix on Google Books (http://books.google.com/books?visbn=0520031946&id=63sC9uaYqQsC
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The guest this week is a university lecturer, a poet, and my co-host on Pop the Left. I tapped C Derick Varn to come on so we could discuss the recent Chomsky/Zizek feud. For those of you who haven’t been following the debate let me expose you to it:
Noam Chomsky on Zizek: What youâre referring to is whatâs called âtheory.â And when I said Iâm not interested in theory, what I meant is, Iâm not interested in posturingâusing fancy terms like polysyllables and pretending you have a theory when you have no theory whatsoever. So thereâs no theory in any of this stuff, not in the sense of theory that anyone is familiar with in the sciences or any other serious field. Try to find in all of the work you mentioned some principles from which you can deduce conclusions, empirically testable propositions where it all goes beyond the level of something you can explain in five minutes to a twelve-year-old. See if you can find that when the fancy words are decoded. I canât. So Iâm not interested in th" name="DESCRIPTION
An invitation to come along and listen to a discussion and debate with academics teaching on the second week of the London Critical Theory Summer School 2013.
Speakers: Stephen Frosh, Esther Leslie, Laura Mulvey & Slavoj Zizek Chair: Costas Douzinas
Frank Schirrmacher und Ranga Yogeshwar im Gespräch bei der Philcologne
Eigentlich wollten Ranga Yogeshwar und Frank Schirrmacher ja über ihre aktuellen Bücher diskutieren. "Das Spiel des Lebens - unsere Zukunft zwischen Ego und Nachhaltigkeit", so hieß die Veranstaltung, die im Rahmen der ersten Philcologne stattfand. Aber die aktuellen Ereignisse rund um die NSA-Abhöraffäre warfen den geplanten Ablauf des Gesprächs gehörig durcheinander. Frank Schirrmacher, Herausgeber der Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung, ist einer der pointiertesten Beobachter der Folgen der Digitalisierung der Gesellschaft. In seinem Ärger über den – wie er sagte - "Hausfriedensbruch", den der amerikanische Geheimdienst begeht, war er sich mit dem WDR-Wissenschaftsexperten Ranga Yogeshwar einig. Das Ergebnis war eine politische Diskussion, die letztlich auch grundlegende philosophische Fragen aufwarf: Wer bestimmt, was wir wünschen, fühlen und denken?
Ausschnitte einer Veranstaltung der Philcologne vom 27. Juni 2013
Redaktion: Petra Brandl-Kirsch
It is an episode about, yes, Jane Austen and game theory. To which you might say … wha? Okay, a bit more explanation is necessary. Michael Chwe is an associate professor of political science at UCLA whose research centers on game theory and, as he puts it, “its applications to social movements and macroeconomics and violence — and this latest thing is about its applications maybe to literature.” The literature in question? The novels of Jane Austen. Chwe discovered that Austen’s novels are full of strategic thinking, decision analysis, and other tools that would later come to be prized by game theorists like those as the RAND Corporation just after World War II. (They included some of the brightest minds of the time, including Kenneth J. Arrow, Lloyd S. Shapley, Thomas Schelling, and John Nash.) And so Chwe wrote a book called Jane Austen, Game Theorist.
A talk given by Tim Morton at the Performance Studies Department, UC Davis, May 9, 2013.