Politics and the economist-King: Is rational choice theory the science of choice?

Journal of Moral Philosophy 1 (2):177-196 (2004)
This article is another unapologetic contribution to ‘the gentle art of rational choice bashing’. The debate over rational choice theory (RCT) may appear to have tired out; yet RCT is as dominant in political sciences as ever. The reason is that critics typically take aim at the symptoms of RCT’s failings, rather than their root cause: RCT’s very ambition of being the ‘science of choice’. In this article I argue that RCT fails twice, first as a science of choice and then as a science of choice. Both failures suggest that political sciences need an epistemologic (re)conversion away from the Platonic ideal of a deductive and universal science of choice toward a more inductive and pluralist paradigm. While advocates of RCT rightly insist that ‘you can’t beat something with nothing’, I take their advice, with a grain of salt: in order for alternatives to appear, the frame of references needs to be modified. I draw a few perspectives for the political sciences.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/174046810400100204
 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: 15,831
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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

81 ( #36,421 of 1,724,865 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #349,138 of 1,724,865 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

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