Publications

The Ethics of Memory

The Ethics of Memory

Abstract:

Much of the intense current interest in collective memory concerns the politics of memory. In a book that asks, "Is there an ethics of memory?" Avishai Margalit addresses a separate, perhaps more pressing, set of concerns. The idea he pursues is that the past, connecting people to each other, makes possible the kinds of "thick" relations we can call truly ethical. Thick relations, he argues, are those that we have with family and friends, lovers and neighbors, our tribe and our nation--and they are all dependent on shared memories. But we also have "thin" relations with total strangers, people with whom we have nothing in common except our common humanity. A central idea of the ethics of memory is that when radical evil attacks our shared humanity, we ought as human beings to remember the victims. Margalit's work offers a philosophy for our time, when, in the wake of overwhelming atrocities, memory can seem more crippling than liberating, a force more for revenge than for reconciliation. Morally powerful, deeply learned, and elegantly written, The Ethics of Memory draws on the resources of millennia of Western philosophy and religion to provide us with healing ideas that will engage all of us who care about the nature of our relations to others.

Last updated on 07/11/2022

The Elements of Computing Systems

Citation:

Noam Nisan and Shimon Schocken. 1/2005. The Elements of Computing Systems. The MIT Press. Copy at http://www.tinyurl.com/2okxehjg
The Elements of Computing Systems

Abstract:

In the early days of computer science, the interactions of hardware, software, compilers, and operating system were simple enough to allow students to see an overall picture of how computers worked. With the increasing complexity of computer technology and the resulting specialization of knowledge, such clarity is often lost. Unlike other texts that cover only one aspect of the field, The Elements of Computing Systems gives students an integrated and rigorous picture of applied computer science, as its comes to play in the construction of a simple yet powerful computer system.Indeed, the best way to understand how computers work is to build one from scratch, and this textbook leads students through twelve chapters and projects that gradually build a basic hardware platform and a modern software hierarchy from the ground up. In the process, the students gain hands-on knowledge of hardware architecture, operating systems, programming languages, compilers, data structures, algorithms, and software engineering. Using this constructive approach, the book exposes a significant body of computer science knowledge and demonstrates how theoretical and applied techniques taught in other courses fit into the overall picture.Designed to support one- or two-semester courses, the book is based on an abstraction-implementation paradigm; each chapter presents a key hardware or software abstraction, a proposed implementation that makes it concrete, and an actual project. The emerging computer system can be built by following the chapters, although this is only one option, since the projects are self-contained and can be done or skipped in any order. All the computer science knowledge necessary for completing the projects is embedded in the book, the only pre-requisite being a programming experience.The book's web site provides all tools and materials necessary to build all the hardware and software systems described in the text, including two hundred test programs for the twelve projects. The projects and systems can be modified to meet various teaching needs, and all the supplied software is open-source.

Last updated on 07/11/2022

צמחי ישראל

צמחי ישראל

תקציר:

צמחי ישראל הוא מדריך שימושי המאפשר את זיהוים של צמחי הבר הנפוצים בישראל בדרך חזותית פשוטה. זהו כלי עזר רב-ערך וחיוני לכל מי שמתעניין בצמחי ישראל ומבקש להעמיק את ידיעותיו בתחום. לקסיקון מפה: צמחי ישראל מביא את תיאורם של החשובים והנפוצים בצמחי הארץ שהים מקובצים בקבוצות לפי צבע פרחיהם. כל ערך בלקסיקון מביא תצלום ותיאור מלא של הצמח בנדון בו, מפת תפוצה ו"סגרל פריחה" של הצמח. ומידע בסיסי על מינים קרובים לצמח. בסך הכל מובאים בספר תיאורים של יותר מ-800 מיני צמחים, ושל עוד כ-1,000 מיני צמחים קרובים להם. בנוסף לכך הספר מביא מידע מרתק על עוד נושאים רבים אחרים. מאסטרטגיות רביית והגנה של צמחים, דרך פרסום ורמייה בצמחים, ועד השימוש שניתן לעשות ברבים מהצמחים המתוארים בספר במטבח וברפואה.

Last updated on 07/11/2022

The New Unconscious

Citation:

Hassin Ran, James S. Uleman, and John A. Bargh. 1/2006. The New Unconscious. ‎Oxford University Press. Copy at http://www.tinyurl.com/2mpznzw4
The New Unconscious

Abstract:

Over the past two decades, a new picture of the cognitive unconscious has emerged from a variety of disciplines that are broadly part of cognitive science. According to this picture, unconscious processes seem to be capable of doing many things that were thought to require intention, deliberation, and conscious awareness. Moreover, they accomplish these things without the conflict and drama of the psychoanalytic unconscious. These processes range from complex information processing, through goal pursuit and emotions, to cognitive control and self-regulation. This collection of 20 original chapters by leading researchers examines the cognitive unconscious from social, cognitive, and neuroscientific viewpoints, presenting some of the most important developments at the heart of this new picture of the unconscious. The volume, the first book in the new Social Cognition and Social Neuroscience series, will be an important resource on the cognitive unconscious for researchers in cognitive psychology and neuroscience.

Last updated on 07/11/2022

The Economic Theory of Annuities

Citation:

Eytan Sheshinski. 1/2007. The Economic Theory of Annuities. Princeton University Press. Copy at http://www.tinyurl.com/2kvojdw3
The Economic Theory of Annuities

Abstract:

Annuities are financial products that guarantee the holder a fixed return so long as the holder remains alive, thereby providing insurance against lifetime uncertainty. The terms of these contracts depend on the information available to insurance firms. Unlike age and gender, information about individual survival probabilities cannot be readily ascertained. This asymmetric information causes market inefficiencies, such as adverse selection. Groundbreaking in its scope, The Economic Theory of Annuities offers readers a theoretical analysis of the functioning of private annuity markets. Starting with a general analysis of survival functions, stochastic dominance, and characterization of changes in longevity, Eytan Sheshinski derives the demand for annuities using a model of individuals who jointly choose their lifetime consumption and retirement age. The relation between life insurance and annuities that have a bequest option is examined and "annuity options" are proposed as a response to the lack of secondary markets. This book also investigates the macroeconomic policy implications of annuities and changes in longevity on aggregate savings. Sheshinski utilizes statistical population theory to shed light on the debate of whether the surge in savings and growth in Asia and other countries can be attributed to higher longevity of the population and whether this surge is durable. This book shows how understanding annuities becomes essential as governments that grapple with insolvency of public social security systems place greater emphasis on individual savings accounts.

Last updated on 07/11/2022

Introduction to the Theory of Cooperative Games

Introduction to the Theory of Cooperative Games

Abstract:

This book systematically presents the main solutions of cooperative games: the core, bargaining set, kernel, nucleolus, and the Shapley value of TU games as well as the core, the Shapley value, and the ordinal bargaining set of NTU games. The authors devote a separate chapter to each solution, wherein they study its properties in full detail. In addition, important variants are defined or even intensively analyzed.

Last updated on 07/11/2022

הספר האדום : צמחים בסכנת הכחדה בישראל

Citation:

אבי שמידע, גדי פולק, and אורי פרגמן-ספיר. 1/2007. הספר האדום : צמחים בסכנת הכחדה בישראל. הוצאת רשות הטבע והגנים. Copy at http://www.tinyurl.com/2ogj8nwk
הספר האדום : צמחים בסכנת הכחדה בישראל

Abstract:

בישראל 414 מיני צמחים בסכנת הכחדה ומתוכם 36 כבר נכחדו. רבים מצמחים אלה נדירים מאוד, חלקם אנדמיים. לכל מין צמח "אדום" נכתבו תיאור מפורט, תפוצתו בארץ ובעולם, היבטים ביוגיאוגרפיים וסיסטמטיים, מצב שמירת הטבע והמלצות לממשק, לשימור ולהגנה. לתיאור נלווים מפת אתרי התפוצה בארץ ותמונת הצמח. המידע בספר זה מהווה בסיס מדעי למדיניות ממשק ולקביעת עדיפות בשמירת הטבע ובהגנה על פי חוק.

Last updated on 07/11/2022

Cold Intimacies

Citation:

Illouz Eva. 1/2007. Cold Intimacies. Cambridge University Press. Copy at http://www.tinyurl.com/2j383qlu
Cold Intimacies

Abstract:

It is commonly assumed that capitalism has created an a-emotional world dominated by bureaucratic rationality; that economic behavior conflicts with intimate, authentic relationships; that the public and private spheres are irremediably opposed to each other; and that true love is opposed to calculation and self-interest. Eva Illouz rejects these conventional ideas and argues that the culture of capitalism has fostered an intensely emotional culture in the workplace, in the family, and in our own relationship to ourselves. She argues that economic relations have become deeply emotional, while close, intimate relationships have become increasingly defined by economic and political models of bargaining, exchange, and equity. This dual process by which emotional and economic relationships come to define and shape each other is called emotional capitalism. Illouz finds evidence of this process of emotional capitalism in various social sites: self-help literature, women's magazines, talk shows, support groups, and the Internet dating sites. How did this happen? What are the social consequences of the current preoccupation with emotions? How did the public sphere become saturated with the exposure of private life? Why does suffering occupy a central place in contemporary identity? How has emotional capitalism transformed our romantic choices and experiences? Building on and revising the intellectual legacy of critical theory, this book addresses these questions and offers a new interpretation of the reasons why the public and the private, the economic and the emotional spheres have become inextricably intertwined.

Last updated on 07/11/2022

תורת המשחקים

Citation:

שמואל זמיר, מיכאל משלר, and אילון סולן. 1/2008. תורת המשחקים. מגנס. Copy at http://www.tinyurl.com/2jnr5l96
תורת המשחקים

תקציר:

ספר קורס. תורת המשחקים היא ענף במתמטיקה העוסק במידול מצבי החלטה אינטראקטיביים ובניתוחם. במצבים אלה מעורבים כמה מקבלי החלטות שמטרותיהם שונות, וההחלטה של כל אחד מהם עשויה להשפיע על כל האחרים. ראשיתה של תורה המשחקים בשנות הארבעים של המאה העשרים, ומאז שנות החמישים היא מיושמת בכלכלה, בביולוגיה, במדעי המחשב ובמדעי המדינה. הספר תורת המשחקים מיועד לתלמידי התואר הראשון והשני במתמטיקה, בכלכלה, במדעי המחשב, ולכל תלמיד בעל בסיס מתמטי מתאים. הספר עוסק בתורת המשחקים השיתופית והלא-שיתופית, ונכללים בו נושאים בסיסיים המתאימים הן לקורס ראשון בתורת המשחקים והן לקורסים מתקדמים. בספר דוגמאות רבות ומגוונות ותרגילים בדרגות קושי שונות, המאפשרים תרגול יעיל של החומר הנלמד והטמעתו.

Last updated on 07/11/2022

Game Theoretic Analysis of Voting in Committees

Citation:

Bezalel Peleg. 1/2008. Game Theoretic Analysis of Voting in Committees. Cambridge University Press. Copy at http://www.tinyurl.com/2emywmwj
Game Theoretic Analysis of Voting in Committees

Abstract:

This book is a theoretical and completely rigorous analysis of voting in committees that provides mathematical proof of the existence of democratic voting systems, which are immune to the manipulation of preferences of coalitions of voters. The author begins by determining the power distribution among voters that is induced by a voting rule, giving particular consideration to choice by plurality voting and Borda's rule. He then constructs, for all possible committees, well-behaved representative voting procedures which are not distorted by strategic voting, giving complete solutions for certain important classes of committees. The solution to the problem of mass elections is fully characterised.

Last updated on 07/11/2022

Strategic Social Choice: Stable Representations of Constitutions

Strategic Social Choice: Stable Representations of Constitutions

Abstract:

This monograph studies representations of effectivity functions by game forms that are at least Nash consistent, which means that they have a Nash equilibrium for any profile of preferences. In the second part the focus is on social choice functions that admit a strong Nash equilibrium resulting in the sincere outcome. A central interpretation of an effectivity function is that it models a constitution.

Last updated on 07/11/2022

Pathological Altruism

Citation:

Ariel Knafo, Barbara Oakley, Guruprasad Madhavan, and David Sloan Wilson. 1/2011. Pathological Altruism. Oxford University Press. Copy at http://www.tinyurl.com/2jp3k6gl
Pathological Altruism

Abstract:

The benefits of altruism and empathy are obvious. These qualities are so highly regarded and embedded in both secular and religious societies that it seems almost heretical to suggest they can cause harm. Like most good things, however, altruism can be distorted or taken to an unhealthy extreme. Pathological Altruism presents a number of new, thought-provoking theses that explore a range of hurtful effects of altruism and empathy. Pathologies of empathy, for example, may trigger depression as well as the burnout seen in healthcare professionals. The selflessness of patients with eating abnormalities forms an important aspect of those disorders. Hyperempathy - an excess of concern for what others think and how they feel - helps explain popular but poorly defined concepts such as codependency. In fact, pathological altruism, in the form of an unhealthy focus on others to the detriment of one's own needs, may underpin some personality disorders. Pathologies of altruism and empathy not only underlie health issues, but also a disparate slew of humankind's most troubled features, including genocide, suicide bombing, self-righteous political partisanship, and ineffective philanthropic and social programs that ultimately worsen the situations they are meant to aid. Pathological Altruism is a groundbreaking new book - the first to explore the negative aspects of altruism and empathy, seemingly uniformly positive traits. The contributing authors provide a scientific, social, and cultural foundation for the subject of pathological altruism, creating a new field of inquiry. Each author's approach points to one disturbing truth: what we value so much, the altruistic "good" side of human nature, can also have a dark side that we ignore at our peril.

Last updated on 07/11/2022

מדוע האהבה כואבת

מדוע האהבה כואבת

תקציר:

מעטים האנשים שלא חוו את הייסורים הכרוכים במערכות יחסים אינטימיות. לייסורים אלה צורות רבות: אנחנו אוהבים גבר או אישה שלא מוכנים להתחייב לנו, לבנו נשבר כאשר אהובנו או אהובתנו עוזבים אותנו, אנחנו שקועים בחיפושים סיזיפיים באינטרנט, חוזרים גלמודים מברים, ממסיבות או מפגישות עיוורות, משתעממים במערכת יחסים הרחוקה כל כך מציפיותינו. בספרה החדש והנועז, מדוע האהבה כואבת, מנסה פרופסור אווה אילוז, מבכירי הסוציולוגים בעולם, לבחון את החוויות האלה, הפרטיות לכאורה, באמצעות התבוננות ביקורתית בדרכים שבהן מיוצרת, נכתבת, משווקת ונחווית האהבה בימינו. לטענת אילוז, הפסיכואנליזה והפסיכולוגיה הפופולרית הפליאו לשכנע אותנו שיחידים נושאים באחריות לאומללות חייהם הרומנטיים והארוטיים. ואילו מטרתו של הספר הזה היא לשנות את זווית הניתוח של הבעיה במערכות יחסים בימינו ולהסביר כי לא ילדות לקויה היא הבעיה אלא הכוחות המוסדיים שמעצבים את האופן שבו אנחנו אוהבים. אווה אילוז היא פרופסור לסוציולוגיה באוניברסיטה העברית בירושלים ונשיאת האקדמיה לאמנות ועיצוב בצלאל. עבודותיה בתחום הסוציולוגיה של הרגשות זכו להכרה רחבה. מדוע האהבה כואבת פורסם באנגלית, בצרפתית ובגרמנית, עורר הדים רבים, זכה לשבחים ואף היה לרב-מכר. בעברית ראו אור עד כה ארבעה מספריה הקודמים, ביניהם אינטימיות קרה – עלייתו של הקפיטליזם הרגשי וגאולת הנפש המודרנית – פסיכולוגיה, רגשות ועזרה עצמית. כמו כן מפרסמת אילוז מסות בענייני תרבות וחברה במוסף "הארץ".

Last updated on 07/11/2022

Comment: Laplace and Cognitive Illusions

Citation:

Daniel Kahneman and Maya Bar-Hillel. 6/2020. “Comment: Laplace and Cognitive Illusions”. Copy at http://www.tinyurl.com/2zn9j8na
dp735.pdf702 KB

Abstract:

Reports in the 1970s of cognitive illusions in judgments of uncertainty had been anticipated by Laplace 150 years earlier. We discuss Miller and Gelman's remark that Laplace's anticipation of the main ideas of the heuristics and biases approach "gives us a new perspective on these ideas as more universal and less contingent on particular developments [that came much] later."

Last updated on 09/05/2021

Posterior Probabilities: Nonmonotonicity, Log-Concavity, and Turán's Inequality

Abstract:

In the standard Bayesian framework the data are assumed to be generated by a distribution parametrized by θ in a parameter space Θ, over which a prior distribution π is defined. A Bayesian statistician quantifies the belief that the true parameter is θ_0 in Θ by its posterior probability given the observed data. We investigate the behavior of the posterior belief in θ_0 when the data are generated under some parameter θ_1, which may or may not be be the same as θ_0. Starting from stochastic orders, specifically, likelihood ratio dominance, that obtain for resulting distributions of posteriors, we consider monotonicity properties of the posterior probabilities as a function of the sample size when data arrive sequentially. While the θ_0-posterior is monotonically increasing (i.e., it is a submartingale) when the data are generated under that same θ_0, it need not be monotonically decreasing in general, not even in terms of its overall expectation, when the data are generated under a different θ_1; in fact, it may keep going up and down many times. In the framework of simple iid coin tosses, we show that under certain conditions the overall expected posterior of θ_0 eventually becomes monotonically decreasing when the data are generated under θ_1≠θ_0. Moreover, we prove that when the prior is uniform this expected posterior is a log-concave function of the sample size, by developing an inequality that is related to Turán's inequality for Legendre polynomials.

Stumpers: An Annotated Compendium

dp737_0.pdf2.57 MB

Abstract:

A stumper is a riddle whose solution is typically so elusive that it does not come to mind, at least initially - leaving the responder stumped. Stumpers work by eliciting a (typically visual) representation of the narrative, in which the solution is not to be found. In order to solve the stumper, the blocking representation must be changed, which does not happen to most respondents. I have collected all the riddles I know at this time that qualify, in my opinion, as stumpers. I have composed a few, and tested many. Whenever rates of correct solutions were available, they are included, giving a rough proxy for difficulty.

Last updated on 09/05/2021

An Axiomatic Approach to Sensors’ Trust Measurements

Citation:

Alexander Kravtsov and Eyal Winter. 8/2020. “An Axiomatic Approach to Sensors’ Trust Measurements.” Discussion Papers. Copy at http://www.tinyurl.com/2pqwwehs
dp739.pdf515 KB

Abstract:

A set of sensors is used to identify which of the users, from a pre-specified set of users, is currently using a device. Each sensor provides a name of a user and a real number representing its level of confidence in the assessment. However, the sensors measure different signals for different traits that are largely unrelated. To be able to implement a policy based on these measurements, one needs to aggregate the information provided by all sensors. We use an axiomatic approach to provide several reasonable trust functions. We show that by providing a few desirable properties we can derive several solutions that are characterized by these properties. Our analysis makes use of an important result by Kolmogorov (1930).

Last updated on 07/21/2022

Why Consciousness?

Citation:

Robert J. Aumann. 5/2021. “Why Consciousness?”. Copy at http://www.tinyurl.com/2ghr3alg
dp740.pdf232 KB

Abstract:

Emotions—specially desire and the objects of desire, like enjoyment and satisfaction—drive much of what we do; indeed they drive all we do that is not recurrent. They are thus indispensable to human life. Inter alia, emotions enable the operation of incentives—like hunger for eating—that motivate us to perform tasks that are vital to our lives. We suggest that the adaptive function of consciousness is to enable emotions to operate.

Last updated on 07/10/2022

Demystifying the Math of the Coronavirus

Citation:

Elon Kohlberg and Abraham Neyman. 3/2021. “Demystifying the Math of the Coronavirus,” no. 741. Copy at http://www.tinyurl.com/2lwaklmg
dp741.pdf542 KB

Abstract:

We provide an elementary mathematical description of the spread of the coronavirus. We explain two fundamental relationships: How the rate of growth in new infections is determined by the “effective reproductive number”; and how the effective reproductive number is affected by social distancing. By making a key approximation, we are able to formulate these relationships very simply and thereby avoid complicated mathematics. The same approximation leads to an elementary method for estimating the effective reproductive number.

Last updated on 07/10/2022

Pure Information Design in Classic Auctions

Citation:

Eyal Winter Constantine Sorokin. 7/2021. “Pure Information Design in Classic Auctions.” Discussion Papers, no. 742. Copy at http://www.tinyurl.com/2ffjl4fl
dp742.pdf581 KB

Abstract:

In many auction environments sellers are better informed about bidders' valuations than the bidders themselves. For such environments we derive a sharp and general optimal policy of information transmission in the case of independent private values. Under this policy bidders whose (ex-post) valuation is below a certain threshold are provided with all the information (about their valuations), but those bidders whose valuation lies below the threshold receive no information whatsoever. Surprisingly, the threshold expressed in percentiles is independent of the probability distribution over bidders' ex-post valuations; it depends solely on the number of bidders. Similar results are also derived for the bidder-optimal policy. Our analysis builds on the approach of “Bayesian persuasion” and on a linearity of sellers' revenues as a function of the inverse distribution. This latter property allows us to use important results on stochastic comparisons.

Last updated on 04/27/2022
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