Rational Angels - Understanding the Theological Background of Economic Rationality
P. G. Monateri
University of Turin, Faculty of Law; Law School, University of Torino (Italy)
July 12, 2011
In this essay the Author traces back the modern standard theory of economic rationality to the theological backgrond of the theory of Angels as rational decision makers developed by Christian Scholastics.
His main conclusion is that there is an identifiable theological background of modern economic theory of rationality, and that it is this theological dimension that can explain why this theory, so useful as it has been, is anyway based on ‘ontological’ but counterfactual assumptions.
The consciousness of this fact would imply the need for a revised and more complex 'economic ontology' if rational decision theory is rooted in the ontology of angels, as it was developed by the western scholastics, it becomes obvious that the real problem is not, first of all, to contrast the theory with more empirical observations, derived from the actual behavior of economic agents, but to develop a different ontology, and to reframe, within it, a newer theory of rationality.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 21
Keywords: Rationality, Theology, Pareto, John Stuart Mill, Rational Decision Theory, Political Theology
JEL Classification: A10, A12, A20, B10, B25, B40working papers series
Date posted: July 12, 2011
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