walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Complaining about _Agendas and Instability_

The first complaint was sufficiently lame that I could not bring myself to actually blog it: the first 6% of the books is made up of repetitive introductions to various editions. So there's that. I know, it's a common issue with popular text-book-y things, and it helps to contextualize what changed and why.

The book takes some ideas from math and science. Without actually mentioning linearity, they sort of skip right to non-linearity and then whether or not politics exhibits behavior characteristic of equilibria or not. They do all of this completely qualitatively, so I was prepared to treat it as a metaphor, rather than actual math. Their other metaphor is "punctuated equilibrium" associated commonly with Stephen Jay Gould, but with a longer and more interesting history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punctuated_equilibrium.

It is _okay_ to use metaphors from science to think about other things. I don't have a problem with that. It is _not okay_ to think that you actually get the kinds of things that go with actually doing the math to come along with that metaphorical use, and I don't know yet whether these authors will attempt that.

In the meantime, I'm complaining about an incorrect name.

"This is the well-known paradox of voting, first analyzed by the French mathematician Concordet [sic] in the late eighteenth century and rediscovered by Duncan Black in the 1950s."

Concordet? What, like a miniature SST, or short peace treaty? No. Condorcet. Math people do math stuff, and I apply math rules to determining their accuracy, relevance, plausibility. Word people do word stuff, and I apply word rules to etc. _Condorcet_.

This is the second edition. 6% of the book is introductions, plural. And we can't get the proper nouns right? I actually _have a rule_ about not buying poli or econ stuff from University of Chicago. And here's another reason why.
Tags: not-a-book-review
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.