A response to the critique of rational choice theory: Lakatos' and Laudan's conceptions applied

Inquiry 47 (1):67 – 85 (2004)
Abstract
This paper analyzes the main features of rational choice theory and evaluates it with respect to the conceptions of Lakatos' research program and Laudan's research tradition. The analysis reveals that the thin rationality assumption, the axiomatic method and the reduction to the micro level are the only features shared by all rational choice models. On these grounds, it is argued that rational choice theory cannot be characterized as a research program. This is due to the fact that the thin rationality assumption cannot be understood as a hard core in Lakatos' terms. It is argued that Laudan's conception of a research tradition better characterizes rational choice theory. On the basis of this conclusion, certain important criticisms of rational choice theory are answered. First, the criticisms concerning the core assumptions of rational choice theory are countered. It is argued that this critique is based on a misunderstanding of rational choice theory as a unified set of models, such as Lakatos' research program. Second, Green and Shapiro's rational choice 'pathologies' - inconsistent predictions, post hoc theory development and arbitrary domain restrictions - are evaluated. Contrary to Green and Shapiro, it is argued that post hoc theory development is a more preferable strategy for developing RCT than domain restrictions based on ex ante rules.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,007
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

54 ( #29,201 of 1,101,116 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

7 ( #34,512 of 1,101,116 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.