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Beyond Austerity

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 12:09:00 +0000

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Reforming the Greek Economy

More than eight years after the global financial crisis began, the economy of Greece shows little sign of recovery, and its position in the eurozone seems tenuous. Between 2008 and 2014, incomes in Greece shrank by more than 25 percent, homes lost more than a third of their value, and the unemployment rate reached 27 percent. Most articles on Greece in the media focus on the effects of austerity, repayment of its debt, and its future in the eurozone. In Beyond Austerity: Reforming the Greek Economy, leading Greek economists from institutions both within and outside Greece, take a broader and deeper view of the Greek crisis, examining the pathologies that made Greece vulnerable to the crisis and the implications for the entire eurozone.

Each chapter takes on a specific policy area, examining it in terms of Greece’s economic reality and offering possible directions for policy. The topics range from macroeconomic issues to markets and their regulation to finance to the public sector. Individual chapters address the costs and benefits of participation in the eurozone, Greece’s international competitiveness, taxation, pensions, the labor market, privatization, product markets, finance, education, healthcare, corruption, the justice system, and public administration. The contributors argue that Greek institutions require a deep overhaul rather than quick fixes to enable long-term growth and prosperity.

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Minding the Weather

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 12:09:00 +0000

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How Expert Forecasters Think

This book argues that human cognition systems is the least understood, yet probably most important, component of forecasting accuracy. Minding the Weather investigates how people acquire massive and highly organized knowledge and develop the reasoning skills and strategies that enable them to achieve the highest levels of performance.

The authors consider such topics as the forecasting workplace; atmospheric scientists’ descriptions of their reasoning strategies; the nature of expertise; forecaster knowledge, perceptual skills, and reasoning; and expert systems designed to imitate forecaster reasoning. Drawing on research in cognitive science, meteorology, and computer science, the authors argue that forecasting involves an interdependence of humans and technologies. Human expertise will always be necessary.

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Truth in Husserl, Heidegger, and the Frankfurt School

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 12:09:00 +0000

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Critical Retrieval

The idea of truth is a guiding theme for German continental philosophers from Husserl through Habermas. In this book, Lambert Zuidervaart examines debates surrounding the idea of truth in twentieth-century German continental philosophy. He argues that the Heideggerian and critical theory traditions have much in common—despite the miscommunication, opposition, and even outright hostility that have prevailed between them—including significant roots in the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl. Zuidervaart sees the tensions between Heideggerian thought and critical theory as potentially generative sources for a new approach to the idea of truth. He argues further that the “critical retrieval” of insights from German continental philosophy can shed light on current debates in analytic truth theory.

Zuidervaart structures his account around three issues: the distinction between propositional truth and truth that is more than propositional (which he calls existential truth); the relationship between propositional truth and the discursive justification of propositional truth claims, framed in analytic philosophy by debates between epistemic and nonepistemic conceptions of truth; and the relationship between propositional truth and the objectivity of knowledge, often presented in analytic philosophy as a conflict between realists and antirealists over the relation between “truth bearers” and “truth makers.” In an innovative and ambitious argument, drawing on the work of Husserl, Heidegger, Horkheimer, Adorno, and Habermas, Zuidervaart proposes a new and transformative conception of truth.

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Coding Literacy

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 12:09:00 +0000

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How Computer Programming is Changing Writing

The message from educators, the tech community, and even politicians is clear: everyone should learn to code. To emphasize the universality and importance of computer programming, promoters of coding for everyone often invoke the concept of “literacy,” drawing parallels between reading and writing code and reading and writing text. In this book, Annette Vee examines the coding-as-literacy analogy and argues that it can be an apt rhetorical frame. The theoretical tools of literacy help us understand programming beyond a technical level, and in its historical, social, and conceptual contexts. Viewing programming from the perspective of literacy and literacy from the perspective of programming, she argues, shifts our understandings of both. Computer programming becomes part of an array of communication skills important in everyday life, and literacy, augmented by programming, becomes more capacious.

Vee examines the ways that programming is linked with literacy in coding literacy campaigns, considering the ideologies that accompany this couplig, and she looks at how both writing and programming encode and distribute information. She explores historical parallels between writing and programming, using the evolution of mass textual literacy to shed light on the trajectory of code from military and government infrastructure to large-scale businesses to personal use. Writing and coding were institutionalized, domesticated, and then established as a basis for literacy. Just as societies demonstrated a “literate mentality” regardless of the literate status of individuals, Vee argues, a “computational mentality” is now emerging even though coding is still a specialized skill.

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Minitel

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 12:09:00 +0000

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Welcome to the Internet

A decade before the Internet became a medium for the masses in the United States, tens of millions of users in France had access to a network for e-mail, e-commerce, chat, research, game playing, blogging, and even an early form of online porn. In 1983, the French government rolled out Minitel, a computer network that achieved widespread adoption in just a few years as the government distributed free terminals to every French telephone subscriber. With this volume, Julien Mailland and Kevin Driscoll offer the first scholarly book in English on Minitel, examining it as both a technical system and a cultural phenomenon.

Mailland and Driscoll argue that Minitel was a technical marvel, a commercial success, and an ambitious social experiment. Other early networks may have introduced protocols and software standards that continue to be used today, but Minitel foretold the social effects of widespread telecomputing. They examine the unique balance of forces that enabled the growth of Minitel: public and private, open and closed, centralized and decentralized. Mailland and Driscoll describe Minitel’s key technological components, novel online services, and thriving virtual communities. Despite the seemingly tight grip of the state, however, a lively Minitel culture emerged, characterized by spontaneity, imagination, and creativity. After three decades of continuous service, Minitel was shut down in 2012, but the history of Minitel should continue to inform our thinking about Internet policy, today and into the future.

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A Mark of the Mental

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 12:09:00 +0000

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In Defense of Informational Teleosemantics

In A Mark of the Mental, Karen Neander considers the representational power of mental states—described by the cognitive scientist Zenon Pylyshyn as the “second hardest puzzle” of philosophy of mind (the first being consciousness). The puzzle at the heart of the book is sometimes called “the problem of mental content,” “Brentano’s problem,” or “the problem of intentionality.” Its motivating mystery is how neurobiological states can have semantic properties such as meaning or reference. Neander proposes a naturalistic account for sensory-perceptual (nonconceptual) representations.

Neander draws on insights from state-space semantics (which appeals to relations of second-order similarity between representing and represented domains), causal theories of reference (which claim the reference relation is a causal one), and teleosemantic theories (which claim that semantic norms, at their simplest, depend on functional norms). She proposes and defends an intuitive, theoretically well-motivated but highly controversial thesis: sensory-perceptual systems have the function to produce inner state changes that are the analogs of as well as caused by their referents. Neander shows that the three main elements—functions, causal-information relations, and relations of second-order similarity—complement rather than conflict with each other. After developing an argument for teleosemantics by examining the nature of explanation in the mind and brain sciences, she develops a theory of mental content and defends it against six main content-determinacy challenges to a naturalized semantics.

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Global Carbon Pricing

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 12:09:00 +0000

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The Path to Climate Cooperation

After twenty-five years of failure, climate negotiations continue to use a “pledge and review” approach: countries pledge (almost anything), subject to (unenforced) review. This approach ignores everything we know about human cooperation. In this book, leading economists describe an alternate model for climate agreements, drawing on the work of the late Nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom and others. They show that a “common commitment” scheme is more effective than an “individual commitment” scheme; the latter depends on altruism while the former involves reciprocity (“we will if you will”).

The contributors propose that global carbon pricing is the best candidate for a reciprocal common commitment in climate negotiations. Each country would commit to placing charges on carbon emissions sufficient to match an agreed global price formula. The contributors show that carbon pricing would facilitate negotiations and enforcement, improve efficiency and flexibility, and make other climate policies more effective. Additionally, they analyze the failings of the 2015 Paris climate conference.

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Richard N. Cooper, Peter Cramton, Stéphane Dion, Ottmar Edenhofer, Christian Gollier, Éloi Laurent, David JC MacKay, William Nordhaus, Axel Ockenfels, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Steven Stoft, Jean Tirole, Martin L. Weitzman

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Remaking the News

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 12:09:00 +0000

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Essays on the Future of Journalism in the Digital Age

The use of digital technology has transformed the way news is produced, distributed, and received. Just as media organizations and journalists have realized that technology is a central and indispensable part of their enterprise, scholars of journalism have shifted their focus to the role of technology. In Remaking the News, leading scholars chart the future of studies on technology and journalism in the digital age.

These ongoing changes in journalism invite scholars to rethink how they approach this dynamic field of inquiry. The contributors consider theoretical and methodological issues; concepts from the social science canon that can help make sense of journalism; the occupational culture and practice of journalism; and major gaps in current scholarship on the news: analyses of inequality, history, and failure.

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Mike Ananny, C. W. Anderson, Rodney Benson, Pablo J. Boczkowski, Michael X. Delli Carpini, Mark Deuze, William H. Dutton, Matthew Hindman, Seth C. Lewis, Eugenia Mitchelstein, W. Russell Neuman, Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, Zizi Papacharissi, Victor Pickard, Mirjam Prenger, Sue Robinson, Michael Schudson, Jane B. Singer, Natalie (Talia) Jomini Stroud, Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, Rodrigo Zamith

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Mindmade Politics

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 12:09:00 +0000

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The Cognitive Roots of International Climate Governance

Mindmade Politics takes a novel, interdisciplinary approach to understanding the complex and contentious dynamics of global climate politics. Manjana Milkoreit argues that integrating cognitive theories and international relations scholarship can yield valuable insights into multilateral cooperation (or the lack of it) on climate change and the process of negotiating climate agreements.

Milkoreit argues that cognition is at the root of all political behavior and decision making. Some of the most important variables of international relations scholarship—the motivations of political actors—are essentially cognitive variables. Drawing on interviews with participants in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Milkoreit examines the thoughts, beliefs, and emotions of individuals and groups, focusing on the mental mechanisms connecting decision-relevant factors and observed political behavior.

Milkoreit offers a brief introduction to international relations theory and key insights regarding the politics of climate change; outlines the basic cognitive theories and concepts that she applies in her analysis, discussing the cognitive challenges of climate change; and describes the integrated methodological approach she used for her cognitive-political analysis. She presents four cognitive-affective lessons for global change politics, including the “cognitive triangle” of three major concerns of climate negotiators—threat, identity, and justice—and she identifies six major belief systems driving negotiators. Finally, she offers guidance for climate governance based on her findings. Utilizing recent advances in cognitive science, Milkoreit builds a theoretical bridge between two major disciplines that will benefit both scholars and practitioners.

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The Death of Public Knowledge?

Fri, 07 Oct 2016 12:01:00 +0000

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How Free Markets Destroy the General Intellect

The Death of Public Knowledge argues for the value and importance of shared, publicly accessible knowledge, and suggests that the erosion of its most visible forms, including public service broadcasting, education, and the network of public libraries, has worrying outcomes for democracy.
With contributions from both activists and academics, this collection of short, sharp essays focuses on different aspects of public knowledge, from libraries and education to news media and public policy. Together, the contributors record the stresses and strains placed upon public knowledge by funding cuts and austerity, the new digital economy, quantification and target-setting, neoliberal politics, and inequality. These pressures, the authors contend, not only hinder democracies, but also undermine markets, economies, and social institutions and spaces everywhere.

Covering areas of international public concern, these polemical, accessible texts include reflections on the fate of schools and education, the takeover of public institutions by private interests, and the corruption of news and information in the financial sector. They cover the compromised Greek media during recent EU negotiations, the role played by media and political elites in the Irish property bubble, the compromising of government policy by corporate interests in the United States and Korea, and the squeeze on public service media in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the United States.
Individually and collectively, these pieces spell out the importance of maintaining public, shared knowledge in all its forms, and offer a rallying cry for doing so, asserting the need for strong public, financial, and regulatory support.

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Toril Aalberg, Ian Anstice, Philip Augar, Rodney Benson, Aeron Davis, Des Freedman, Wayne Hope, Ken Jones, Bong-hyun Lee, Colin Leys, Andrew McGettigan, Michael Moran, Aristotelis Nikolaidis, Justin Schlosberg, Henry Silke, Roger Smith, Peter Thompson, Janine R. Wedel, Karel Williams, Kate Wright

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