Human Judgment and Social Policy: Irreducible Uncertainty, Inevitable Error, Unavoidable Injustice

Paperback | July 15, 2000

byKenneth R. Hammond

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From the O.J. Simpson verdict to peace-making in the Balkans, the critical role of human judgement--complete with its failures, flaws, and successes--has never been more hotly debated and analyzed than it is today. This landmark work examines the dynamics of judgement and its impact on eventsthat take place in human society, which require the direction and control of social policy. Research on social policy typically focuses on content. This book concentrates instead on the decision-making process itself. Drawing on 50 years of empirical research in decision theory, Hammond examines thepossibilities for wisdom and cognitive competence in the formation of social policies, and applies these lessons to specific examples, such as the space shuttle Challenger disaster and the health care debate. Uncertainly, he tells us, can seldom be fully eliminated; thus error is inevitable, andinjustice for some unavoidable. But the capacity for make wise judgments increases to the extent that we understand the potential pitfalls and their origin. The judgment process for example involves an ongoing rivalry between intuition and analysis, accuracy and rationality. The source of thistension requires an examination of the evolutionary roots of human judgement and how these fundamental features may be changing as our civilization increasingly becomes an information and knowledge-based society. With numerous examples from law, medicine, engineering, and economics, the authordramatizes the importance of judgment and its role in the formation of social policies which affect us all, and issues the first comprehensive examination of its underlying dynamics.

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From the O.J. Simpson verdict to peace-making in the Balkans, the critical role of human judgement--complete with its failures, flaws, and successes--has never been more hotly debated and analyzed than it is today. This landmark work examines the dynamics of judgement and its impact on eventsthat take place in human society, which req...

Kenneth R. Hammond is at University of Colorado at Boulder.

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Format:PaperbackPublished:July 15, 2000Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195143272

ISBN - 13:9780195143270

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Table of Contents

PART I: Rivalry1. Irreducible Uncertainty and the Need for Judgment2. Duality of Error and Policy Formation3. Coping with Uncertainty: The Rivalry Between Intuition and AnalysisPART II: Tension4. Origins of Tensions Between Coherence and Correspondence Theories of Competence in Judgment and Decision Making5. The Evolutionary Roots of Correspondence CompetencePART III: Compromise and Reconciliation6. Reducing Rivalry Through Compromise7. Task Structure, Cognitive Change, and Pattern Recognition8. Reducing Tensions Between Coherence and Correspondence Through Constructive ComplementarityPART IV: Possibilities9. Is It Possible to Learn by Intervening?10. Is It Possible to Learn from Representing?11. Possibilities for Wisdom12. The Possible Future of Cognitive Competence

Editorial Reviews

"Hammond magnificently reviews the history and major controversies in studies of cognition and decision making. Using examples from public policy, medicine, law, and engineering, he illustrates tensions between analysis and intuition, and correspondence versus coherence models of truth. . . .Clearly a contribution to cognitive science. . ."--Choice