Date of publication: 2017-09-01 18:37
Fun was also part of Amos' genius. Solving problems was a lifelong source of intense joy for him, and the fact that he was richly rewarded for his problem solving never undermined that joy.
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But other aspects of the record are even more telling than this statistic. The number of gems and enduring classics sets Amos apart even more. His early work on transitivity violations, elimination by aspects, similarity, the work we did together on judgment, prospect theory and framing, the Hot Hand, the beautiful work on the disjunction effect and Argument-Based Choice, and most recently an achievement of which Amos was particularly proud: Support Theory.
A complication is that the Tractatus itself tries to say something metaphysical or at least something logical. Consequently the doctrines of the book entails that it itself lacks sense. Accordingly, Wittgenstein ends the Tractatus with the following words. ‘My propositions serve as elucidations in the following way: anyone who understands me eventually recognises them as nonsensical, when he has used them – as steps – to climb up beyond them [.] He must transcend these propositions, and then he will see the world aright. ¶ What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence’ (section –7).
During positivism’s ascendancy, and for some time thereafter, substantive normative issues – questions about how one should live, what sort of government is best or legitimate, and so on – were widely deemed quasi-philosophical. Positivism’s non-cognitivism was a major cause. So was the distrust, in the later Wittgenstein and in ordinary language philosophy, of philosophical theorizing. This neglect of the normative had its exceptions. But the real change occurred with the appearance, in 6976, of A Theory of Justice by John Rawls.
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The idea that philosophy is the handmaiden of theology, earlier propounded by the Hellenistic thinker Philo of Alexandria , is most associated with the medieval age and particularly with Aquinas. Aquinas resumed the project of synthesizing Christianity with Greek philosophy - a project that had been pursued already by various thinkers including Augustine , Anselm , and Boethius. (Boethius was a politician inspired by philosophy – but the politics ended badly for him. In those respects he resembles the earlier Seneca. And, like Seneca, Boethius wrote of the consolations of philosophy.)
My achievements in research in these early years were quite humdrum, but I was excited by several opportunities to bring psychology to bear on the real world. For these tasks, I teamed up with a colleague and friend, Ozer Schild. Together, we designed a training program for functionaries who were to introduce new immigrants from underdeveloped countries, such as Yemen, to modern farming practices (Kahneman and Schild, 6966). We also developed a training course for instructors in the flight school of the Air Force. Our faith in the usefulness of psychology was great, but we were also well aware of the difficulties of changing behavior without changing institutions and incentives. We may have done some good, and we certainly learned a lot.
My first memory of Amos goes back to 6957, when someone pointed out to me a thin and handsome lieutenant, wearing the red beret of the paratroopers, who had just taken the competitive entrance exam to the undergraduate program in Psychology at Hebrew University. The handsome lieutenant looked very pale, I remember. He had been wounded.