Systemic Analysis

Adrian Vermeule

in The System of the Constitution

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199838455
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932481 | DOI:
Systemic Analysis

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This chapter defines system effects, provides a range of motivating examples, and describes two pitfalls into which analysts or actors can stumble when they overlook system effects. In the fallacy of composition, the mistake is to assume that if the components of an aggregate or members of a group have a certain property, the aggregate or group must also have that property. In the fallacy of division, the converse mistake is to assume that if the aggregate has a certain property, the components or members must have the same property. The chapter also clarifies the relationship between system effects and a famous idea in economics and political theory, the general theory of second best. Although the two ideas are conceptually distinct, they have close logical connections, and the theory of second best is a central problem both for actors within systems and for analysts of systems.

Keywords: system effects; fallacy of division; fallacy of composition; theory of second best

Chapter.  7114 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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