Expert Political Judgment

Expert Political Judgment

How Good Is It? How Can We Know?

Book - 2005
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Publisher: Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2005
ISBN: 9780691123028
Branch Call Number: 320.019 TETLOCK
Characteristics: xvi, 321 p. : ill. ; 24 cm


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Jan 10, 2018

This is an unexpected and unusual book. The main goal of the author appears to be to dazzle you with how brilliant he is, compared with his peers in other Philosophy departments. For example, on page 32, he analyzes a simple "Guess the number" game, in which the objective is to "state a number between 0 and 100, which is to be as close as possible to the average of all guesses multiplied by 2/3rds".

Simple enough, right. Most people who think about it for a second, guess 33. 33 is 2/3rds of the midpoint number 50. A few people guess 22, which is the right guess if people get to an answer of 33, and then think "so will most other people". Author Tetlock then point out that you can carry that thinking forward to change your guess again. If most people are going to analyze it enough to reach an answer of 22, then your answer should be 2/3rds of 22, namely 13. Tetlock asserts that "a tiny hyper-educated [but not as hyper educated as Tetlock himself, obviously] recognize the logical answer of 0".

Political judgment is a vital subject of public interest in these dark days of demagogic amateurs with great political power. It deserves a popular book with clear writing, aimed at intelligent adults. This is not that book, alas.
Peter vdL.


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