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Contribution to Book
Adding Reasons Up
Economics and the Mind
  • William A. Edmundson, Georgia State University College of Law
Barbara Montero and Mark D. White
Document Type
Contribution to Book
Publication Date
This chapter argues that the "maximizing conception" of rationality that economists are criticized for employing is one that moral philosophers cannot well do without. But the maximizing conception, though essential to identifying what reason requires that we choose, seems unsuited to the task of explaining why we choose what we do - even when we do choose as reason requires. In practice, the maximizing conception seems as unenlightening as an explanation of choice as it is hopeless as a decision strategy. The chapter concludes by suggesting that the two-system model of practical rationality that Kahneman and Tversky have pioneered (Tversky and Kahneman 1971) can be seen as a step toward reconciling the normative and positive aims of economics (compare Hausman and McPherson 1994 with Friedman 1953).

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Citation Information
William A. Edmundson, Adding Reasons Up, in Economics and the Mind (Barbara Montero and Mark D. White eds., Routledge, 2007).