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  1. New functionalism and the social and behavioral sciences.Lukas Beck & James D. Grayot - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (4):1-28.
    Functionalism about kinds is still the dominant style of thought in the special sciences, like economics, psychology, and biology. Generally construed, functionalism is the view that states or processes can be individuated based on what role they play rather than what they are constituted of or realized by. Recently, Weiskopf has posited a reformulation of functionalism on the model-based approach to explanation. We refer to this reformulation as ‘new functionalism’. In this paper, we seek to defend new functionalism and to (...)
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  • Levels: Descriptive, Explanatory, and Ontological.Christian List - 2019 - Noûs 53 (4):852-883.
    Scientists and philosophers frequently speak about levels of description, levels of explanation, and ontological levels. In this paper, I propose a unified framework for modelling levels. I give a general definition of a system of levels and show that it can accommodate descriptive, explanatory, and ontological notions of levels. I further illustrate the usefulness of this framework by applying it to some salient philosophical questions: (1) Is there a linear hierarchy of levels, with a fundamental level at the bottom? And (...)
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  • Mind/Brain and Economic Behaviour: For a Naturalised Economics.Mario Graziano - 2019 - Axiomathes 29 (3):237-264.
    Neuroeconomics is a science pledged to tracing the neurobiological correlates involved in decision-making, especially in the case of economic decisions. Despite representing a recent research field that is still identifying its research objects, tools and methods, its epistemological scope and scientific relevance have already been openly questioned by several authors. Among these critics, the most influential names in the debate have been those of Faruk Gul and Wolfgang Pesendorfer, who claim that the data on neural activity cannot find place in (...)
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  • On the Individuation of Choice Options.Roberto Fumagalli - 2020 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 50 (4):338-365.
    Decision theorists have attempted to accommodate several violations of decision theory’s axiomatic requirements by modifying how agents’ choice options are individuated and formally represented. In recent years, prominent authors have worried that these modifications threaten to trivialize decision theory, make the theory unfalsifiable, impose overdemanding requirements on decision theorists, and hamper decision theory’s internal coherence. In this paper, I draw on leading descriptive and normative works in contemporary decision theory to address these prominent concerns. In doing so, I articulate and (...)
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  • Strategic Interdependence, Hypothetical Bargaining, and Mutual Advantage in Non-Cooperative Games.Mantas Radzvilas - unknown
    One of the conceptual limitations of the orthodox game theory is its inability to offer definitive theoretical predictions concerning the outcomes of noncooperative games with multiple rationalizable outcomes. This prompted the emergence of goal-directed theories of reasoning – the team reasoning theory and the theory of hypothetical bargaining. Both theories suggest that people resolve non-cooperative games by using a reasoning algorithm which allows them to identify mutually advantageous solutions of non-cooperative games. The primary aim of this thesis is to enrich (...)
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  • Updating the Frame Problem for Artificial Intelligence Research.Lisa Miracchi - 2020 - Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Consciousness 7 (2):217-230.
    The Frame Problem is the problem of how one can design a machine to use information so as to behave competently, with respect to the kinds of tasks a genuinely intelligent agent can reliably, effectively perform. I will argue that the way the Frame Problem is standardly interpreted, and so the strategies considered for attempting to solve it, must be updated. We must replace overly simplistic and reductionist assumptions with more sophisticated and plausible ones. In particular, the standard interpretation assumes (...)
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  • Levels: Descriptive, Explanatory, and Ontological.Christian List - 2017
    Scientists and philosophers frequently speak about levels of description, levels of explanation, and ontological levels. This paper presents a framework for studying levels. I give a general definition of a system of levels and discuss several applications, some of which refer to descriptive or explanatory levels while others refer to ontological levels. I illustrate the usefulness of this framework by bringing it to bear on some familiar philosophical questions. Is there a hierarchy of levels, with a fundamental level at the (...)
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  • What is It Like to Be a Group Agent?Christian List - 2016 - Noûs:295-319.
    The existence of group agents is relatively widely accepted. Examples are corporations, courts, NGOs, and even entire states. But should we also accept that there is such a thing as group consciousness? I give an overview of some of the key issues in this debate and sketch a tentative argument for the view that group agents lack phenomenal consciousness. In developing my argument, I draw on integrated information theory, a much-discussed theory of consciousness. I conclude by pointing out an implication (...)
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  • Functionalism and the Role of Psychology in Economics.Christopher Clarke - 2020 - Journal of Economic Methodology 27 (4):292-310.
    Should economics study the psychological basis of agents' choice behaviour? I show how this question is multifaceted and profoundly ambiguous. There is no sharp distinction between "mentalist'' answers to this question and rival "behavioural'' answers. What's more, clarifying this point raises problems for mentalists of the "functionalist'' variety (Dietrich and List, 2016). Firstly, functionalist hypotheses collapse into hypotheses about input--output dispositions, I show, unless one places some unwelcome restrictions on what counts as a cognitive variable. Secondly, functionalist hypotheses make some (...)
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  • The Diversity of Rational Choice Theory: A Review Note.Catherine Herfeld - 2020 - Topoi 39 (2):329-347.
    In this paper, I review the literature on rational choice theory to scrutinize a number of criticisms that philosophers have voiced against its usefulness in economics. The paper has three goals: first, I argue that the debates about RCT have been characterized by disunity and confusion about the object under scrutiny, which calls into question the effectiveness of those criticisms. Second, I argue that RCT is not a single and unified choice theory—let alone an empirical theory of human behavior—as some (...)
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  • Folk Psychology and the Interpretation of Decision Theory.Johanna Thoma - 2021 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 7.
    Most philosophical decision theorists and philosophers of the social sciences believe that decision theory is and should be in the business of providing folk psychological explanations of choice behaviour, and that it can only do so if we understand the preferences, utilities and probabilities that feature in decision-theoretic models as ascriptions of mental states not reducible to choice. The behavioural interpretation of preference and related concepts, still common in economics, is consequently cast as misguided. This paper argues that even those (...)
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  • From Ontological Traits to Validity Challenges in Social Science: The Cases of Economic Experiments and Research Questionnaires.María Caamaño-Alegre & José Caamaño-Alegre - 2019 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 32 (2):101-127.
    ABSTRACTThis article examines how problems of validity in empirical social research differ from those in natural science. Specifically, we focus on how some ontological peculiarities of the object...
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  • Aggregating Causal Judgments.Richard Bradley, Franz Dietrich & Christian List - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (4):491-515.
    Decision-making typically requires judgments about causal relations: we need to know the causal effects of our actions and the causal relevance of various environmental factors. We investigate how several individuals' causal judgments can be aggregated into collective causal judgments. First, we consider the aggregation of causal judgments via the aggregation of probabilistic judgments, and identify the limitations of this approach. We then explore the possibility of aggregating causal judgments independently of probabilistic ones. Formally, we introduce the problem of causal-network aggregation. (...)
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  • Rationality, Preference Satisfaction and Anomalous Intentions: Why Rational Choice Theory is Not Self-Defeating.Roberto Fumagalli - 2021 - Theory and Decision 91 (3):337-356.
    The critics of rational choice theory frequently claim that RCT is self-defeating in the sense that agents who abide by RCT’s prescriptions are less successful in satisfying their preferences than they would be if they abided by some normative theory of choice other than RCT. In this paper, I combine insights from philosophy of action, philosophy of mind and the normative foundations of RCT to rebut this often-made criticism. I then explicate the implications of my thesis for the wider philosophical (...)
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  • Team Reasoning and a Measure of Mutual Advantage in Games.Jurgis Karpus & Mantas Radzvilas - 0201 - Economics and Philosophy 34 (1):1-30.
    The game theoretic notion of best-response reasoning is sometimes criticized when its application produces multiple solutions of games, some of which seem less compelling than others. The recent development of the theory of team reasoning addresses this by suggesting that interacting players in games may sometimes reason as members of a team – a group of individuals who act together in the attainment of some common goal. A number of properties have been suggested for team-reasoning decision-makers’ goals to satisfy, but (...)
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  • In Defence of Revealed Preference Theory.Johanna Thoma - 2021 - Economics and Philosophy 37 (2):163-187.
    This paper defends revealed preference theory against a pervasive line of criticism, according to which revealed preference methodology relies on appealing to some mental states, in particular an agent’s beliefs, rendering the project incoherent or unmotivated. I argue that all that is established by these arguments is that revealed preference theorists must accept a limited mentalism in their account of the options an agent should be modelled as choosing between. This is consistent both with an essentially behavioural interpretation of preference (...)
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  • How to Interpret Belief Hierarchies in Bayesian Game Theory: A Dilemma for the Epistemic Program.Cyril Hédoin - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-22.
    This article proposes two interpretations of the concept of belief hierarchies in Bayesian game theory: the behaviorist interpretation and the mentalist interpretation. On the former, belief hierarchies are derived from the players’ preferences over acts. On the latter, they are causal mechanisms that are responsible for the players’ choices and preferences over acts. The claim is that the epistemic program in game theory is potentially confronted with a dilemma regarding which interpretation should be adopted. If the behaviorist interpretation of belief (...)
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  • Rational monism and rational pluralism.Jack Spencer - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (6):1769-1800.
    Consequentialists often assume rational monism: the thesis that options are always made rationally permissible by the maximization of the selfsame quantity. This essay argues that consequentialists should reject rational monism and instead accept rational pluralism: the thesis that, on different occasions, options are made rationally permissible by the maximization of different quantities. The essay then develops a systematic form of rational pluralism which, unlike its rivals, is capable of handling both the Newcomb problems that challenge evidential decision theory and the (...)
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  • On the Neural Enrichment of Economic Models: Recasting the Challenge.Roberto Fumagalli - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (2):201-220.
    In a recent article in this Journal, Fumagalli argues that economists are provisionally justified in resisting prominent calls to integrate neural variables into economic models of choice. In other articles, various authors engage with Fumagalli’s argument and try to substantiate three often-made claims concerning neuroeconomic modelling. First, the benefits derivable from neurally informing some economic models of choice do not involve significant tractability costs. Second, neuroeconomic modelling is best understood within Marr’s three-level of analysis framework for information-processing systems. And third, (...)
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  • Embodied Decisions and the Predictive Brain.Christopher Burr - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Bristol
    Decision-making has traditionally been modelled as a serial process, consisting of a number of distinct stages. The traditional account assumes that an agent first acquires the necessary perceptual evidence, by constructing a detailed inner repre- sentation of the environment, in order to deliberate over a set of possible options. Next, the agent considers her goals and beliefs, and subsequently commits to the best possible course of action. This process then repeats once the agent has learned from the consequences of her (...)
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  • Neuroeconomics Beyond the Brain: Some Externalist Notions of Choice.Enrico Petracca - 2020 - Journal of Economic Methodology 27 (4):275-291.
    Neuroeconomics is rather uncontroversially intended as a brain-centric research enterprise. This paper challenges the brain-centric approach to neuroeconomics – which can be traced back to a more g...
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  • On the Recent Philosophy of Decision Theory.Ivan Moscati - 2020 - Journal of Economic Methodology 28 (1):98-106.
    In the philosophy of economics, the last fifteen years have witnessed an intense discussion about the epistemological status of economic models of decision making and their theoretical components,...
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  • What Is Risk Aversion?H. Orii Stefansson & Richard Bradley - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (1):77-102.
    According to the orthodox treatment of risk preferences in decision theory, they are to be explained in terms of the agent's desires about concrete outcomes. The orthodoxy has been criticised both for conflating two types of attitudes and for committing agents to attitudes that do not seem rationally required. To avoid these problems, it has been suggested that an agent's attitudes to risk should be captured by a risk function that is independent of her utility and probability functions. The main (...)
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  • Decision Theory.Katie Steele & H. Orri Stefánsson - 2015 - In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • History, Analytic Narratives, and the Rules-in-Equilibrium View of Institutions.Cyril Hédoin - 2020 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 50 (5):391-417.
    Analytic narratives are case studies of historical events and/or institutions that are formed by the combination of the narrative method characteristic of historical and historiographical wor...
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  • Reason-Based Rationalization.Franz Dietrich & Christian List - manuscript
    [This version of the paper has been superseded by "Reason-based choice and context-dependence: An explanatory framework", forthcoming in Economics & Philosophy.] -/- We introduce a “reason-based” way of rationalizing an agent’s choice behaviour, which explains choices by specifying which properties of the options or choice context the agent cares about (the “motivationally salient properties”) and how he or she cares about these properties (the “fundamental preference relation”). Reason-based rationalizations can explain non-classical choice behaviour, including boundedly rational and sophisticated rational behaviour, (...)
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  • Agency & Choice.James Grayot - 2019 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 12 (1):137-144.
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  • Reason-Based Choice and Context-Dependence: An Explanatory Framework.Franz Dietrich & Christian List - 2016 - Economics and Philosophy 32 (2):175-229.
    We introduce a “reason-based” framework for explaining and predicting individual choices. It captures the idea that a decision-maker focuses on some but not all properties of the options and chooses an option whose motivationally salient properties he/she most prefers. Reason-based explanations allow us to distinguish between two kinds of context-dependent choice: the motivationally salient properties may (i) vary across choice contexts, and (ii) include not only “intrinsic” properties of the options, but also “context-related” properties. Our framework can accommodate boundedly rational (...)
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  • What is the Economic Concept of Choice? An Experimental Philosophy Study.Michiru Nagatsu & Kaire Põder - 2019 - Economics and Philosophy 35 (3):461-478.
    Economists and philosophers disagree about the concept of choice used in economics. Some behavioural economists argue that economic models of choice will improve as they become more and more psychologically realistic. Don Ross argues that this argument fails because its hidden assumption – that the economic concept of choice is the same as the psychological counterpart – is false. Ross conjectures that the economic concept of choice concerns a population-scale pattern of behavioural changes in response to incentives. We conduct a (...)
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  • Preferences: Neither Behavioural nor Mental.Francesco Guala - 2019 - Economics and Philosophy 35 (3):383-401.
    Recent debates on the nature of preferences in economics have typically assumed that they are to be interpreted either as behavioural regularities or as mental states. In this paper I challenge this dichotomy and argue that neither interpretation is consistent with scientific practice in choice theory and behavioural economics. Preferences are belief-dependent dispositions with a multiply realizable causal basis, which explains why economists are reluctant to make a commitment about their interpretation.
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  • Philosophy of Economics.Daniel M. Hausman - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    This is a comprehensive anthology of works concerning the nature of economics as a science, including classic texts and essays exploring specific branches and schools of economics. Apart from the classics, most of the selections in the third edition are new, as are the introduction and bibliography. No other anthology spans the whole field and offers a comprehensive introduction to questions about economic methodology.
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