Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 January 2022
I distinguish several doctrines that economic methodologists have found attractive, all of which have a positivist flavor. One of these is the doctrine that preference assignments in economics are just shorthand descriptions of agents’ choices. Although most of these doctrines are problematic, the latter doctrine about preference assignments is a respectable one, I argue. It does not entail any of the problematic doctrines, and indeed it is warranted independently of them.
I am indebted to Anna Alexandrova, Christopher Cowie, and Zina Ward for their invaluable comments on an ancestor of this manuscript, to Ken Binmore and Samir Okasha for many fruitful discussions on the topic, and to several anonymous referees for their helpful comments. This work has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC grant 284123.