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  • Cited by 3
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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Hahn, Ulrike 2014. The Bayesian boom: good thing or bad?. Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 5,

    Pottenger, Michael 2014. Moving beyond the rational choice debate via social capital: The study of illegal private protection. Australian Journal of Political Science, Vol. 49, Issue. 2, p. 267.

    Driscoll, Amanda and Krook, Mona Lena 2009. Can There Be a Feminist Rational Choice Institutionalism?1. Politics & Gender, Vol. 5, Issue. 02, p. 238.


Symposium on explanations and social ontology 1: rational choice theory and social explanation

  • John Ferejohn (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 October 2002

In the Common Mind, Pettit argues that rational choice theory cannot provide genuine causal accounts of action. A genuine causal explanation of intentional action must track how people actually deliberate to arrive at action. And, deliberation is necessarily enculturated or situated “. . . we take human agents to reason their way to action, using the concepts that are available to them in the currency of their culture” (p. 220). When deciding how to act, “. . . people find their way to action in response to properties that they register in the options before them, properties that are valued in common with others and that can be invoked to provide at least some justification of their choices” (p. 272). That people seek to make justified decisions implies that, at times, their own goals or objectives will be modified in deliberation. Something that rational choice theory cannot allow.

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Economics & Philosophy
  • ISSN: 0266-2671
  • EISSN: 1474-0028
  • URL: /core/journals/economics-and-philosophy
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