Skip to content
Open global navigation

Cambridge University Press

AcademicLocation selectorSearch toggleMain navigation toggle

Your Cart


You have 0 items in your cart.

Register Sign in Wishlist
Explaining Social Behavior

Explaining Social Behavior
More Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences

$114.99 (Z)

  • Date Published: April 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521771795

$114.99 (Z)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Paperback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • This book is an expanded and revised edition of the author's critically acclaimed volume Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences. In twenty-six succinct chapters, Jon Elster provides an account of the nature of explanation in the social sciences. He offers an overview of key explanatory mechanisms in the social sciences, relying on hundreds of examples and drawing on a large variety of sources-psychology, behavioral economics, biology, political science, historical writings, philosophy and fiction. Written in accessible and jargon-free language, Elster aims at accuracy and clarity while eschewing formal models.

    • Draws on and expands author's writings on choice, rationality, irrationality, emotion and norms over the past thirty years
    • Accessible and appealing to readers of diverse levels and interests
    • Proposes a view of social science that will appeal to those who are uncomfortable with 'soft' and 'hard' approaches
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    "...contains many interesting puzzles and examples, and excellent elementary discussions of the major concepts of the social sciences...a treasure trove of suitable and interesting case-studies and examples..." --Dean Rickles, University of Sydney: Philosophy in Review

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2007
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521771795
    • length: 498 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 32 mm
    • weight: 0.9kg
    • contains: 5 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Explanation and Mechanisms:
    1. Explanation
    2. Mechanisms
    3. Interpretation
    Part II. The Mind:
    4. Motivations
    5. Self-interest and altruism
    6. Myopia and foresight
    7. Beliefs
    8. Emotions
    Part III. Action:
    9. Desires and opportunities
    10. Persons and situations
    11. Rational choice
    12. Rationality and behavior
    13. Responding to irrationality
    14. Some implications for textual interpretation
    Part IV. Lessons from the Natural Sciences:
    15. Physiology and neuroscience
    16. Explanation by consequences and natural selection
    17. Selection and human behavior
    Part V. Interaction:
    18. Unintended consequences
    19. Strategic interaction
    20. Games and behavior
    21. Trust
    22. Social norms
    23. Collective belief formation
    24. Collective action
    25. Collective decision-making
    26. Organizations and institutions

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Philosophy of Natural and Social Science
    • Qualitative Research Methods (Graduate)
    • Research Concepts and Approaches
    • Scope & Methods
  • Author

    Jon Elster
    Jon Elster is Professor and Chaire de Rationalite et Sciences Sociales at the College de France. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, he is a recipient of fellowships from The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the Russell Sage Foundation, among many others. Dr Elster has taught at the University of Chicago and Columbia University and has held visiting professorships at many universities in the United States and in Europe. He is the author and editor of thirty-four books, most recently Closing the Books: Transitional Justice in Historical Perspective, Elementary Social Science from an Advanced Standpoint, and Retribution and Restitution in the Transition to Democracy.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website, your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Back to top

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.

Cancel Delete

Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.