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Political Judgement

Quote of the week: James B. Comey

Leszek J. Sibilski's picture

"Judgment is protected and nurtured by stepping away from the work. Sleeping is not a moral failure. You arise refreshed in a way that allows you to see your work in a new light.”

-James B. Comey Jr., director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States Government, speaking with Daniel Attridge, dean of the law school at The Catholic University of America, on April 12 for the Brendan F. Brown Lecture Series. 

Prior to serving as FBI director, Comey served on the Board of Directors of HSBC Holdings until July 2013 and as a Senior Research Scholar and a Hertog Fellow on National Security Law at Columbia Law School in New York City. He also worked in the Department of Justice as United States Deputy Attorney General from December 2003 to August 2005, serving in President George W. Bush's administration.

 

Quote of the Week: Philip Tetlock

Sina Odugbemi's picture
“Any good political psychologist should have the moral and historical imagination to see how he or she could become almost any ideological creature that has existed, or does exist on the planet. That includes Nazis, Stalinists, Maoists, Isil … There but for the grace of God.”
 

- Philip Tetlock, a Canadian-American political science writer, currently serving as the Annenberg University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is cross-appointed at the Wharton School of Business and the School of Arts and Sciences.  His research explores a variety of topics, including: the challenges of assessing "good judgment" in both laboratory and real-world settings and the criteria that social scientists use in judging judgment and drawing normative conclusions about bias and error.

He has written several non-fiction books at the intersection of psychology, political science and organizational behavior, including Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction; Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know?; Unmaking the West: What-if Scenarios that Rewrite World History; and Counterfactual Thought Experiments in World Politics.  Tetlock is also co-principal investigator of The Good Judgment Project, a multi-year study of the feasibility of improving the accuracy of probability judgments of high-stakes, real-world events.

Isaiah Berlin on Political Judgement

Sina Odugbemi's picture

Technocracies love complexity, especially technical complexity. If you can't hurl regressions at a problem, well, that is not interesting. Yet at the heart of effective development specific contexts is an art. That art is political judgement, not partisan politics but sound judgement when it is the domestic political process that determines whether or not you succeed. 
 

The trouble is this: saying something is an art gets many technocrats nervous. Technocrats love numbers. But as reflective practitioners of the so-called social sciences have often pointed out, the reason you cannot claim that these are sciences is that the subjects being studied think. Human beings are not numbers; they are full of surprises. Which is why when it comes to how to achieve your objectives in Gugu Republic, you being the head of a development initiative being implemented in Gugu Republic, you will not be successful unless you can display sound political judgement.