Lecture and Reading Notes for Modern Postivist Approaches in Political Science

Discussion and reactions on Political Psychology (New Political-Psychology) and Rational Choice (New Economics-Psychology) follow… Boring for all but the bravest

Political Science Stages and Rational Choice
beginning: institutional and legal

Behavioralists/social-psycologists (“The American Voter”, 1960)
– 1950s/60s: atheoretical, very empirical, uncoordinated, piecemeal, “no interesting works or big questions”
– 1980s/1990s: reintroduction with more theory and rigour

Rational Choice Theory
– 1950s/1960s: first economic models are introduced, but mostly ignored
– 1980s: reintroduction with emphasis on systematic, rigrous, rational choice paradigm approach

Rational Choice never overtook Behavioralism, but was most dominant alternative
– rational choice had a broader domain than behavioralism, but behavioralism emphasized vote choice
– offers a high degree of precision (because of its reliance on mathematics)
– good mechanism for generationg counter-intuitive hypothesis (for example, instead of why not vote, why vote?)

Definitions and Conventions in Rational Choice Theory
Rationality – Self Interested: focus on maximizing utility with minimal outlay
Methodological Individualism – focus on the motivations of each individual
Purposeful Action – all action is goal oriented (equivilent to “Action is Oriented” in OODA loop?)
States of Nature – the settings that influence the outcomes (this is rarely known perfectly – Decision Making Under Certainty/Risk)
Preferences – things you like over outcomes
Postulated Preferences – theoretical assumptiosn about what peoples preferences are
Spatial Models – uses Euclidean n-dimensional grid to define current position, optima, indifference curves, etc

Definitions and Conventions in Political Psychology
– more heterogenous than rational choice, no universal list of assumptions here
– also more electric methods than rational choice
– socialization is important
– importance of information processing
– methodological individualism & “groupism”
– focus on motivation (cognitive? attitudinal? emotionalism? groups? genetics?)
– context
– internal states (orientations? orientation state? OODA state? stance?)

Dominance of Domains:
Behavioralism: American, Comparative
Rational Choice: Everything Else

Below follows the notes for my second reaction paper:

Ordeshook Emerging
-pol-econ syncretism
-university interia as a burden
-“time to move on”
– importance of game theory
— sucessor to behavioralism
— languished as a backwater
– conflation of psychology and sociology?
– early math approaches technical, worthless?
– need to use same tools in politics and economics
– “translat epreferences… into a social decision” 20
– “every election platform can be defeated by some other election platform”
– early failures of game theory everywhere
– “rationality itself is ill defined”

Ordeshook Game Theory
Assumptions of Formal Theory
– methodologicla individualism
– purposeful action
purposeful does not mean “carefully and consciously”
other people are exogenous/static
state of nature + action -> outcome
Action-set is exhaustive and exclusive
ditto Outcome-set
both are countable, finite
but easier to let be uncountable and in
uncountable, infinite sets can be pictured
states of nature
– conditions before voting as example
what about fuzziness in these sets?
Preference relation
o R o’
completeness: either o R o’ OR o’ R o
transitivity if o R o’ AND o’ R o” THEN o R o”
indiffiererence o I o’ IF o R o’ AND o’ R o
strict priference o P o’ IF o R o’ AND NOT o’ R o
problem: cake R bach?
solution: becomes meaningful when context is specifiied
problem: indifference to small increases, preference in large increases
solution: transitivity only works with strict preference
Ordinal Utility:
R : =>
I: =
P: >
Ordinal Utility Function: allows mathetical manipulation of proferences and outcomes
not all ordinal utility functions are equivelent ot each other, so be careful!
Directions of Research:
Proceed Directly to Interest or Work from First Principles
“more on personal taste”
good explanation of spatial models
“indifference countours are continuous” – not if they are curves in higher-dimensional space than is being visualized
game theory over quantitative, not qualitative, changes? (Boydian)
how to integrate baynesianism to this the probability discussion?

psychologicla influences?
study of power
economics too materialist?
“beyond the povery level — level of uncome is unrelated to subjectiv wellbeing or happiness”
“Peoplw who score high on [the materialist scale] are unhappier than low scorers”
mention of Piaget
people are aroused more by “fraternal deprivation”
“self-interest ordinarily does not have much effect”
“internalizes the purpose of an organization”
“the size of a state today is a result of its politicla culture yesterday”
Brehm: if C is denied, those who used to prefer B now prefer C
polipsych avoids methodological individualism?
gourmet tastes when field is small
(expertise as limiter or choice?)
criticism of rational choice
little correlation between democracy and happiness
activate the left subcortext where the pleasre center lies
lane’s argument is normative

history of polipsych
Piaget -> Information Processing
cognition v. economics in politics
“serial shift,” synthesis?
psychoanalytic perspectives
bayesian!!! – majorities think they are super-majorities

Elisabet Sunde: Sexual Predator

Elizabeth Sunde? Elisabeth Sunde? Elisabet Sunde?

The minor details of the case keep changing. Is her name ? , as the Orange County Clerk of Courts maintains? Perhaps ?

“Elizabeth Sunde”

Is her age 19? 26?

Whatever it is, she deserves twenty years in prison, and she’ll probably get a fine.

Elizabeth Sunde, 26 (09.26.86), 8037 Gables Commons Drive #127, told investigators that she was approached by five or six “French men” in her apartment…

First, what we do know about her. She was born on September 26, 1986. She’s 5 foot 4 and 140 pounds. Her address was:

Elisabet Sunde
8037 Gables Commons Drive #127
The Commons
Orlando, FL 32821


And she used switchboard, (407) 560-2280, for incoming calls.

She was booked on March 3rd, 2006, and currently resides in cell B-FD-4. Her address at Orange County Incarcerationshas been

Elisabet Sunde
06009224 B-FD-4
P.O. Box 4970
Orlando, FL 32802-4970

Sickeningly, if I’m reading her inmate record, correctly, she can be out with only $500 bond.

She’s a slut. That’s clear. She had sex with four men. From the videotaped evidence she enjoyed it.

Much, much worse (Elisabet’s private life, after all, is her own) is that she cried rape. Some people believed her. Fortunately, skepticism and video-taped evidence won the day.

For attempting to ruin the lives of several young men, almost nothing will happen.

The most horrible part is the lack of punishment she’s facing. If we are to believe the Orlando Sentinel‘s account, she’s been charged with of breaking Florida State Statue 837.05(1)

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2), whoever knowingly gives false information to any law enforcement officer concerning the alleged commission of any crime, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

And Florida State Statute 837.06

False official statements.–Whoever knowingly makes a false statement in writing with the intent to mislead a public servant in the performance of his or her official duty shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

Misdemeanors. She may get more from getting arrested while carrying marijuana.

A fellow blogger makes a good point:

Women who make false charges of rape should face the same harsh penalties as a man accused of rape, and she should have to register as a sex offender. She should also have to inform every man she dates or has sexual relations with that she has made a false charge of rape in the past; if she fails to do so it would mean a mandatory life sentence without parole.

Elisabet Sunde is a sexual predator. The law should treat her like one.

Just like Sharon Irons should be.