The Parts of an Imperfect Agent

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Abstract
Formal representations drawn from rational choice theory have been used in a variety of ways to fruitfully model the way in which actual agents are approximately rational. This analysis requires bridging between ideal normative theory, in which the mechanisms, representations, and other such internal parts are in an important sense interchangeable, and descriptive psychological theory, in which understanding the internal workings of the agent is often the main goal of the entire inquiry. In this paper, I raise a problem brought on by this gap: for almost every theory of approximate rationality, there will be an empirically indistinguishable alternative that individuates the parts of the agent in a significantly different way.
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Archival date: 2022-02-22
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