Keith Douglas' Web Page

About me Find out who I am and what I do.
My resumé A copy of my resumé and other documentation about my education and work experience for employers and the curious.
Reviews, theses, articles, presentations A collection of papers from my work, categorized and annotated.
Current research projects What I am currently working on, including some non-research material.
Interesting people People professionally "connected" to me in some way.
Interesting organizations Organizations I am "connected" to. (Some rather loosely.)
Intellectual/professional influences Influences on my work, including an organization chart. Here you can also buy many good books on philosophy and other subjects via I have included brief reviews of hundreds of books.
Professional resources Research sources, associates programs, etc.
What is the philosophy of computing? A brief introduction to my primary professional interest.
My intellectual heroes A partial list of important people. Limited to the dead.
My educational philosophy As a sometime teacher I've developed one. Includes book resources.

Book Influences - Political Science

Purchase / Enjoy Cover
A Primer in Social Choice Theory (Revised edition) Gaertner A brief introduction to the study of preference aggregation (systems of voting, primarily). Readers of such a volume would profit well to read the criticisms (some of which are justified) in Bunge's Social Science Under Debate. However, despite the demerits of some of what is postulated, the volume is clear and has exercises of varying difficulty. The semi-axiomatic format does allow one to clearly see where one might disagree, with the exception of the material requiring utilities (then the reader is assumed to have encountered this sort of thing previously); this is, as usual from economists (like the author), uncritically accepted, alas. I also wonder if anyone has used SCT to assist in requirements analysis for software, because perhaps there it might be more useful.
America (The Book) Stewart Satire.
Comparative Politics Mahler Introductory political science textbook.
Comparing Federal Systems (2e) Watts A slim book which does exactly what the title suggests. Of value is the sheer number of systems under comparison. This feature is also a weakness as the detail for each pointwise comparison is usually enough to establish the contrast and that's all. Note that the link is to the edition I have (entry mangled). There is a third edition, which I have, needless to say, not reviewed.
Contemporary Theory in International Relations Hoffmann, ed. Needless to say (since the book was published in 1960) the "contemporary" in the title is inaccurate, at least literally. Examples involving the Soviet Union are the most dated parts. But even that does not matter so much, as one of the recurring forms of analysis Hoffmann attempts is the relevance of the past. In fact, the whole book has a very "philosophy of social science" feel to it, as the selections and excerpts as well as the long editorial introductions to them have very methodological and philosophical flavour. Additionally of interest, Hoffmann comes close to defending (without so naming it) the Bungian notion of a sociotechnology. Finally, Hoffmann's admonishment to declare one's assumptions is also all to the good - he recognizes that we start from somewhere when analyzing and by pretending that we are not, we in fact make it harder to accomplish the objectivity in fact desired. Hoffmann does not use "objectivity", however - in my view his greatest mistake in an otherwise stimulating volume is conflating partiality with subjectivity. I say: yes to the former, no to the latter.
De l'Esprit des Lois, I Montesquieu One of the first modern books of political science and a work in political philosophy, after a fashion.
De l'Esprit des Lois, II Montesquieu One of the first modern books of political science and a work in political philosophy, after a fashion.
Law, Politics and the Judicial Process in Canada Morton (ed.) Topics included in this collection of papers, excerpts, etc. are: "The Rule of Law in the Canadian Constitution", "Political Jurisprudence", "The Canadian Judicial System", "Judicial Recruitment and Selection", etc. Written as a textbook, each section has a vaguely introduction by the editor and "keyterms" at the end, with further references, usually to relevant statutes. As the edition I have was collected shortly after the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was created, some of the "looking to the future" was on its forseen impacts. I presume that later editions have more on what actually transpired. It is also important to realize that this is not a law textbook in the usual sense - it is designed for students of politics and civics. It is thus likely more "foundational".
Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making (Revised Edition) Stone Stone's main thesis is that many forms of political analysis are covers or "hide" value judgements. While this is to some extent true (and she, remarkably, seems to have re-discovered Hao Wang's point that judgements of identity are presupposed by systems of numbers, both cardinal and ordinal) the subjectivist "morals" she draws are exaggerations. It does not follow from the fact that we invent categories that the world itself is category free and that in particular there are no laws in the metaphysical sense. All that said, much of the book is an important corrective to very one-sided planning and debate.
Political Sociology: Structure and Process Kourvetaris This is a brief, breezy introduction to how social systems generally interact through systems particularly devoted to power. One weakness in it is immediate from the subject matter: while one sub-subject (military sociology, which seems to be the author's speciality) has a clear topic, the nature of political sociology is not clear. The book reads like one rather hastily written annotated bibliography. On the other hand, one interesting (to me at least) feature is the recognition that some of the topics have roots in those traditionally regarded as philosophers. Unfortunately, with all the sloppy writing and repetition, I cannot recommend this book very highly at all. (And this is self-described as being suitable for graduate students in sociology and political science? Astonishing. I can only assume that this is arrogance.)
Surviving as Indians Boldt A book on the current political situation and future of same of the natives of Canada.
The New Politics of Science Dickson A decent, though not great, introduction to the underdeveloped field of the politology of science. My highschool classmate, Matt Poll, might want to read this, as it deals with issues of "brain drain", though from the perspective of the United States.
The Voice of the People: Public Opinion and Democracy Fishkin A historical discussion of how public opinion would be determined and factored into the political process, focusing on the experiences of the United States. This historical overview culminates in Fishkin's own innovation, the Deliberative Poll™. This is an attempt to combine a statistically representative sample of the population of interest, debate, expertise and discussion. While the primarily historical sections of the book make for clear reading, strangely Fishkin's discussion of his creation is harder to understand as it omits many details. One issue I found particularly jarring, given the well known wide difference in the US between "elite" opinion and that of the general public, was the total failure to discuss how experts are selected for the Deliberative Poll. Along those lines, I would like to see if the Deliberative Poll increases adoption of the elite opinions at the expense of others. (E.g. in health care, where opinion and policy are so disjoint.)
The Canadian Constitution in Historical Perspective Reesor The book advertises itself as containing "with a clause-by-clause analysis of the Constitution Acts and the Canada Act ". This is done, but also forming a large proportion of the book is spent on two other worthwhile topics: historical discussion of other founding documents related to the British colonies in what is now Canada as well as an analysis of what counts as a constitutional document, anyway? The latter is interesting, because Canada is between the UK and the US as to the explicitness of its constitution. Also found is a more general discussion of the principles behind it all. Warning: record slightly mangled.
The Prince Machiavelli A classic historico-polical analysis about how to maintain and obtain power.


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