Adding Reasons Up

William A. Edmundson

Georgia State University College of Law


ECONOMICS AND MIND, Barbara Montero, Mark White, eds., Routledge, 2007

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).

Keywords: rationality, aggregation, constrained rationality, duty, obligation

JEL Classification: A1, B4

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Date posted: June 12, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Edmundson, William A., Adding Reasons Up (2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1143643

Contact Information

William A. Edmundson (Contact Author)
Georgia State University College of Law ( email )
P.O. Box 4037
Urban Life Building, Room 402 140 Decatur Street
Atlanta, GA 30302-4037
United States
404-413-9167 (Phone)
404-413-9225 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://law.gsu.edu/wedmundson/

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