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Neuroeconomics and Confirmation Theory

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022

Abstract

Neuroeconomics is a research program founded on the thesis that cognitive and neurobiological data constitute evidence for answering economic questions. I employ confirmation theory in order to reject arguments both for and against neuroeconomics. I also emphasize that some arguments for neuroeconomics will not convince the skeptics because these arguments make a contentious assumption: economics aims for predictions and deep explanations of choices in general. I then argue for neuroeconomics by appealing to a much more restrictive (and thereby skeptic-friendly) characterization of the aims of economics.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association

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Footnotes

I am indebted to Christopher Cowie, Tim Lewens, Don Ross, and two anonymous referees for their helpful comments on this article, and especially to Samir Okasha for his generous comments on an ancestor of this article. I have also profited from more general discussions with Anna Alexandrova, Ken Binmore, David Papineau, and Richard Pettigrew concerning the relationship between psychology and economics. This work was supported by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013), ERC grant agreement no. 284123.

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