In this classic work, John Steinbruner argues that the time is
ripe for exploration of a new theoretical perspective on the
decision-making process in government. He suggests that the
cybernetic theory of decision as developed in such diverse fields
as information theory, mathematical logic, and behavioral
psychology generates a systematic but non-rational analysis that
seems to explain quite naturally decisions that are puzzling when
viewed from the rational perspective. When combined with the basic
understanding of human mental operations developed in cognitive
psychology, the cybernetic theory of decision presents a striking
picture of how decision makers deal with the intense uncertainty
and fundamental value conflicts that arise in bureaucratic
politics. To illustrate the advantages of using cybernetic theory,
Steinbruner analyzes the issue of sharing nuclear weapons among the
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