Indeterminacy and Society. By Russell Hardin. Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 2003. 192p. $39.95 cloth, $14.95 paper.
Russell Hardin aims in this wide-ranging text to explain the sources
of indeterminacy in social life, its implications for theory, and its
consequences for practice. Indeterminacy marks circumstances in which
individual and collective actors cannot determine the results or outcomes
of their choices, not so much because of lack of power or causal ignorance
(which might be remedied) but because the social world characteristically
presents them with stochastic and strategic problems, and therefore forces
on them stochastic and strategic choices. The two problems are distinct
but often related. Stochastic problems arise whenever choice carries with
it the possibility of harm; in many social and political contexts, the
possibilities and the identities of those harmed may or may not be known,
and these factors matter in ways Hardin discusses.