Neuroeconomics and Identity

10 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2013

See all articles by John B. Davis

John B. Davis

Marquette University; University of Amsterdam; Tinbergen Institute

Date Written: December 12, 2013


This short paper discusses majority and minority views in economics regarding the value of neuroscience for economics – and thus the value of the neuroeconomics research program. It argues that neuroeconomics’ reception ultimately depends on whether economists adopt a philosophy of science thinking closer to what exists in other sciences. It then argues that an inadvertent a product of this debate is whether people can be identified as relatively independent agents. The paper concludes with comments on what this debate implies about the conception of the decision-maker as a relatively independent identity.

Keywords: neuroeconomics, philosophy of science, instrumentalism, formalism, decision-maker autonomy, identity

JEL Classification: A12, B41, D03, D87

Suggested Citation

Davis, John B., Neuroeconomics and Identity (December 12, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

John B. Davis (Contact Author)

Marquette University ( email )

P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
United States

University of Amsterdam ( email )


Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA

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