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How Reason Almost Lost Its MindThe Strange Career of Cold War Rationality$

Paul Erickson, Judy L. Klein, Lorraine Daston, Rebecca Lemov, Thomas Sturm, and Michael D. Gordin

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226046631

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226046778.001.0001

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(p.vii) Preface and Acknowledgments

(p.vii) Preface and Acknowledgments

How Reason Almost Lost Its Mind
University of Chicago Press

This book began at “The Strangelovian Sciences” workshop, held at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin (MPIWG) in March 2010. Out of that workshop a Working Group of six crystallized, who met once again in Berlin for six weeks in the summer of 2010 to write, discuss, revise, discuss again, and revise yet one more time in order to produce a jointly authored book. Our conversations, both formal and informal, were wide ranging, critical, unpredictable, sometimes heated, and always engrossing. Without them, this book could not have come into being, no matter how diligently each of us worked in solitude. We regard it as a collective work. An impeccably rational device ordered the authors’ names: a randomizing computer program.

Since the summer of 2010, the manuscript has been substantially revised in light of the comments we received from readers for the University of Chicago Press. We thank Hunter Heyck and two anonymous referees for their suggestions and criticisms, which have greatly improved the book. Gil Skillman from the Department of Economics at Wesleyan University was kind enough to read and comment on the sections dealing with game theory. Karen Merikangas Darling, our editor at the Press, shepherded us through the long process from manuscript to book with patience, encouragement, and sage counsel.

Like other MPIWG Working Groups, the authors of this volume are gratefully indebted to the institute’s hospitality and support, especially that of the library and Josephine Fenger, who heroically rounded up the images, sought permissions, and compiled the bibliography. Thomas Sturm’s and Judy Klein’s participation was supported in part by the Spanish Ministry for Science and Innovation (reference number FFI 2008–01559/FISO, to T. S.) and the Institute for New Economic Thinking (grant number (p.viii) IN011–00054, to J. K.), respectively. We also thank all the participants in the March workshop, whose papers and comments proved invaluable for the conceptualization of the volume. Paul Erickson, Judy Klein, Rebecca Lemov, and Thomas Sturm are deeply grateful for the initiative that Lorraine Daston and Michael Gordin took in conceiving and coordinating our exploration of Cold War rationality.

Six weeks of the summer can be a long time to be away from home, and we all greatly appreciate the indulgence of friends and families in allowing us to work together so intensively. Finally, we acknowledge with thanks the help rendered at a crucial moment by Ivy, who pushed the button.