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Masters of UncertaintyWeather Forecasters and the Quest for Ground Truth$
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Phaedra Daipha

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226298542

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226298719.001.0001

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Decision Making under Uncertainty

(p.1) Introduction
Masters of Uncertainty

Phaedra Daipha

University of Chicago Press

After outlining the gaps and limitations of the mainstream models of decision-making used in cognitive psychology, behavioral economics, and organization studies, this chapter advocates for a holistic, therefore sociological, approach that, adopting a pragmatist theory of action, bridges the extant literatures with insights from science and technology studies. This approach to studying the process of decision-making eschews normative criteria of rationality in favor of context-dependent explanations of judgment in action. The unit of analysis is neither the individual nor the organization but the task at hand. Four guiding assumptions about decision-making in action are identified: (1) decision-making takes place within a more or less institutionalized environment that, over time, affords its members a certain stock of knowledge; (2) this stock of knowledge consists of cognitive heuristics and decision-making techniques that help initially frame and specify the empirical context of action; (3) decision-making may not be perfectly rational but rarely is it unreflective or routinized—instead, it is habitual and eminently practical; (4) it is within the evolving micro-context of action, and the human and nonhuman others populating it, that decision-making practice takes shape first and foremost.

Keywords:   bounded rationality, deep uncertainty, naturalistic decision-making, pragmatist theory, situated learning, cognition, materiality, process, science studies, cultural repertoires

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