New Boots and Panties


Intertemporal choice is what we do when we make trade-offs between costs and benefits occurring at different points in time. We are always making intertemporal choices- when we choose between a hamburger now or a fine meal (or thinner body) later; between increasing our pension fund contribution or going to Hawaii; or between a sinful moment on earth or an eternity in heaven. Indeed, so broad is the domain of intertemporal choice that it is difficult to think of a consequential decision that is not an intertemporal choice. Given the importance of intertemporal choice, that it is a central theme in both psychology and economics is not surprising


G. Loewenstein, D. Reid & R. F. Baumeister, Time and Decision, Economic and Psychological Perspectives On Intertemporal choice.



Ape Discounting Apparatus


To make adaptive choices, individuals must sometimes exhibit
patience, forgoing immediate benefits to acquire more valuable future rewards [1–3]. Although humans account for future consequences when making temporal decisions [4], many animal species wait only a few seconds for delayed benefits [5–10]. Current research thus suggests a phylogenetic gap between patient humans and impulsive, present-oriented animals [9, 11], a distinction with implications for our understanding of
economic decision making [12] and the origins of human cooperation [13]. On the basis of a series of experimental results, we reject this conclusion. First, bonobos (Pan paniscus) and chimpanzees ( Pan troglodytes ) exhibit a degree of patience
not seen in other animals tested thus far. Second, humans are less willing to wait for food rewards than are chimpanzees. Third, humans are more willing to wait for monetary rewards than for food, and show the highest degree of patience only
in response to decisions about money involving low opportunity costs. These findings suggest that core components of the capacity for future-oriented decisions evolved before the human lineage diverged from apes. Moreover, the different levels
of patience that humans exhibit might be driven by fundamental differences in the mechanisms representing biological versus abstract rewards.
When asked to decide between ten dollars in 30 days and 11 dollars in 31 days, people typically prefer the larger reward. However, when asked to choose between ten dollars now and 11 dollars tomorrow, people are more impulsive and prefer the immediate reward [3, 4]. These inconsistent preferences reveal that people often trade off between immediate and future benefits.
Rosati, A.G, Stevens, J.R., Hare, B., & Hauser, M.D. (2007). The evolutionary origins of human patience: Temporal preferences in chimpanzees, bonobos, and human adults
. Current Biology, 17: 1663–1668

Image From The Early Days of X Ray (If I Had An Idea)

A question popped into my head last night. The first one in months. Simple and unanswerable.

If women are paid medical compensation for injury at a reduced rate in Early Medieval Ireland would their kin group pay the difference?

I don’t have an answer as the evidence base is so slight.

Its vaguely interesting as I can run with the idea that to place such a financial burden on kin groups is a means to reduce violence  and social tension by ensuring the financial decline in the status of legally targeted groups.

Long term the kin group would either have to make cultural changes in regard to the way it managed itself or face eradication of free status as its position and rank declined over time.

Secondary question raises its head, what is the relationship between rank and social status here and the development of medical theory and treatment?

According to the law texts treatment is given according to rank. Diet appears to be a part of medical treatment and what you are entitled to eat is dependent on social status.

It gives me at least a tentative suggestion that kin groups may have made up the difference and taken on the financial burden of treatment, as it would maintain the groups social position and standing.

Honor based culture maintaining and increasing its status a core function of its kin groups.

An, if, but, maybe question, which will be rather hard if not impossible to answer with much detail, given the nature of the evidence base.

It does raise a rather wider more general question ( a potential escape from  a limited evidence base).

What is the relationship between a disease theory system and a health care system (refined the question)?

The practices in question from Early Ireland here relate to a health care system ( the way a society deals with the maintenance of health) and its legal aspects.

The relationship between diet and rank suggests that the relationship between theory of disease and wider social and political factors may be somewhat slippery.

What it does is gives me a more general question that I can attempt to answer using a wider comparative framework.

Which is just as well the evidence for this period is so slight I can’t firmly say that diet forms part of Irish medicines theory of disease although it certainly appears to be a feature of its health care system.

I know diet will later form part of its theory of disease at a later date as medical theory alters in the later medieval period.

Does social hierarchy play a role in the adoption of such ideas?

How tangled is the social with knowledge in regard to disease in these cases?

I Never Did Anything Out of The Blue


The Key to the relationship between classical and medieval Genius is its Horation definition- a god of human nature, born with each man and living until his death….. Thus, he was identified with Euridice, natural concupiscence, born within each man, who descended into the underworld of temporal good when she succumbed to its delights. The god of human nature was affiliated with other similar descents into an underworld, which exemplified the central experience of human life possible for each man. At birth man’s soul naturally descends from the heavens into the underworld of the sub-lunar region or of the human body. During his life he may, like Euridice, descend viciously, or, like her husband Orpheus, virtuously into the underworld of temporal good in order to familiarize himself with it and thereby protect himself from its temptations. Finally, he may descend into hell not only literally at death but artificially through magic art, when he consults its demons about future life. This pattern of descents unifies and moralizes the classical meanings of Genius, and makes the pagan god palatable to the Christian Middle Ages


J.C. Nitzsche, The Genius Figure in Antiquity and The Middle Ages