Selves and Choices

Reti, saperi, linguaggi: Italian Journal of Cognitive Sciences. (2020) 5:1. pages 47-58. doi: 10.12832/90970.

Duke Law School Public Law & Legal Theory Series No. 2020-25

7 Pages Posted: 7 May 2020

See all articles by Mark B. Turner

Mark B. Turner

Case Western Reserve University - Department of Cognitive Science

Mathew D. McCubbins

Department of Political Science and Law School, Duke University

Date Written: April 12, 2020

Abstract

Choosing requires a person to perform: the person must construct selves, one for each moment of deciding. We see our everyday lives as involving several simultaneous stories. Moments of choosing occur throughout all these stories. Imaginative mental operations are used at these moments of decision to create various ideas: of oneself as having a characteristic identity; of others as having characteristic identities, emotions, goals, and beliefs; of the self as having relationships to the minds of others; of others as having relationships to the minds of oneself; and of both self and others as inhabiting past and future stories (Turner 2008). These sparse ideas of selves and choices are remarkably useful in modeling decision-making. In contrast, the dominant theories of choice in the social sciences offer a view of selves and choices that is radically different from this picture. This article presents ways in which those dominant theories are empirically disconfirmed. We view people as engaged in wayfinding—using imagination to construct selves and stories, for the purpose of navigating into the future. During wayfinding, there is remarkable flexibility in our ideas of self and others. The concluding section of the article considers some recent cognitive neuroscience that might support flexibility theory.

Keywords: game theory, blending, cognitive neuroscience, equilibrium, personal identity, other minds

Suggested Citation

Turner, Mark B. and McCubbins, Mathew D., Selves and Choices (April 12, 2020). Reti, saperi, linguaggi: Italian Journal of Cognitive Sciences. (2020) 5:1. pages 47-58. doi: 10.12832/90970. ; Duke Law School Public Law & Legal Theory Series No. 2020-25. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3573851

Mark B. Turner (Contact Author)

Case Western Reserve University - Department of Cognitive Science ( email )

10900 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106-7068
United States

HOME PAGE: http://markturner.org

Mathew D. McCubbins

Department of Political Science and Law School, Duke University ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

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