Book Review of The Science of Decision Making: An Introduction to Praxeology, by Arnold Kaufmann.

by Paul T. McClure

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Reviews a book translated from the French in 1968 that presents a number of mathematical models useful for decisionmaking, in a form simple enough for use by one with a minimum knowledge of mathematics. The literature in this field has developed almost entirely in the past decade, and this survey is well suited to bringing the reader up to date on current techniques. Kaufmann identifies the quantitative modes of decisionmaking as an area of praxeology (a comprehensive theory of action), and feels that mathematical analysis is an operation separate from normative considerations (ethics, values). The reviewer warns that such techniques may make more options apparent to decisionmakers but do not overcome the dangers of cookie-cutter thinking. Values and ethics must be part of the decision algorithm from the first.

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