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About the Talk

Emotions trigger many human actions, notably in conflictual situations. The talk will first consider models of emotional choice versus rational choice, and then consider selected episodes from 18th century French and American political history to argue for the crucial importance of emotions of anger fear, and enthusiasm.

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 About the Speaker

Jon Elster is the Robert K. Merton Professor of the Social Sciences at Columbia University. Before coming to Columbia, he taught in Paris, Oslo and Chicago. His publications include Ulysses and the Sirens (1979), Sour Grapes (1983), Making Sense of Marx (1985), The Cement of Society (1989), Solomonic Judgements (1989), Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences (1989), Local Justice (1992) and Political Psychology (1993). His research interests include the theory of rational choice, the theory of distributive justice and the history of social thought (Marx and Tocqueville). He is currently working on a comparative study of constitution-making processes from the Federal Convention to the present and on a study of retroactive justice in countries that have recently emerged from authoritarian or totalitarian rule. Research interests include Theory of Rational Choice and the Theory of Distributive Justice.