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The epistemological foundations of political decision making

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The epistemological foundations of political decision making
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Ackerman
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Michael
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1970-
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Michael Ackerman
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Schochet
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Gordon
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Gordon J Schochet
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chair
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Miller
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Lisa
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Lisa L Miller
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Tichenor
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Daniel
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Daniel J Tichenor
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Lau
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Richard
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Richard R Lau
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Rutgers University
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degree grantor
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Graduate School - New Brunswick
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theses
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2007
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2007
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English
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electronic
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v, 139 pages
Abstract
The first section explores the epistemological similarities between postmodern and conservative thought. I attempt to show the underlying similarities between the assumptions made by each school of thought. The primary focus is on similarities in how each school of thought views the role and limits of reason. Each school of thought is highly conscious of how complex our environment is relative to our cognitive capacities.
The next section is an overview of political science literature that addresses the decision making process and the role of various sorts of expertise (policy, political, and cultural) within situations of great complexity. The focus is primarily on foreign policy decision making, especially the Vietnam War. The themes raised are tentatively applied to the current situations in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, the general themes discussed and the questions raised are applicable to domestic politics (on the local, state, and federal levels).
In both of these sections, I raise practical and theoretical questions and I argue that an interdisciplinary approach, borrowing much from social and cognitive psychology, would be useful in furthering this research. In addition to helping us achieve a greater understanding of past events, this interdisciplinary approach would be of modest (but significant) prescriptive value by offering policy makers advice on how to best avoid major policy mistakes.
The final section examines the Mt. Laurel housing cases and how the judicial branch was assisted by land use experts who were appointed as special masters to the courts. This section gives an example of decision makers (in this case, judges) in a complex situation and how the New Jersey political system has seen fit to supplement the judges' legal expertise through the advice of experts in housing and land use policy. As in the previous sections, questions are raised about how to best calibrate the roles of the educated generalists and the policy experts to achieve more satisfactory policy outcomes.
Note (type = degree)
M.A.
Note (type = bibliography)
Includes bibliographical references (p. 139).
Subject (ID = SUBJ1); (authority = RUETD)
Topic
Political Science
Subject (ID = SUBJ2); (authority = ETD-LCSH)
Topic
Political science--Decision making
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Graduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
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http://hdl.rutgers.edu/1782.2/rucore10001600001.ETD.15776
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ETD_436
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Identifier (type = doi)
doi:10.7282/T3DZ08RN
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Michael Ackerman
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Rutgers University. Graduate School - New Brunswick
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I hereby grant to the Rutgers University Libraries and to my school the non-exclusive right to archive, reproduce and distribute my thesis or dissertation, in whole or in part, and/or my abstract, in whole or in part, in and from an electronic format, subject to the release date subsequently stipulated in this submittal form and approved by my school. I represent and stipulate that the thesis or dissertation and its abstract are my original work, that they do not infringe or violate any rights of others, and that I make these grants as the sole owner of the rights to my thesis or dissertation and its abstract. I represent that I have obtained written permissions, when necessary, from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis or dissertation and will supply copies of such upon request by my school. I acknowledge that RU ETD and my school will not distribute my thesis or dissertation or its abstract if, in their reasonable judgment, they believe all such rights have not been secured. I acknowledge that I retain ownership rights to the copyright of my work. I also retain the right to use all or part of this thesis or dissertation in future works, such as articles or books.
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