Author: Jon Elster

Jon Elster is Robert K. Merton Professor of Social Sciences with appointments in Political Science and Philosophy at Columbia University and professeur titulaire at the Collège de France. He was engaged in and leader of the Working Group 'Microfoundations of Civil War' at the Centre for the Study of Civil War at PRIO 2003-2012.

What Motivates Soldiers to Fight, asks Jon Elster

Many commentators have claimed that Russia’s military leaders must have underestimated the Ukrainians’ resilience and battle morale. This is most likely correct, but would it even have been possible for the Russian commanders to have made a more accurate estimate? There is reason to doubt that they could have done so. The only way to… Read more »

Justice, Truth, Peace

The human mind seems to have a natural tendency to assume that all good things go together. This may be a result partly of what psychologists call tradeoff aversion and partly of wishful thinking. Let me offer some examples. Marx asserted that in the transition to Communism, one should try to “shorten and lessen the birth pangs”. For a… Read more »