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Profile: Roberto Fumagalli (Universität Bayreuth)
  1.  34
    Roberto Fumagalli (2013). The Futile Search for True Utility. Economics and Philosophy 29 (3):325-347.
    In traditional decision theory, utility is regarded as a mathematical representation of preferences to be inferred from agents hedonic experiences. Some go as far as to contend that utility is literally computed by specific neural areas and urge economists to complement or substitute their notion of utility with some neuro-psychological construct. In this paper, I distinguish three notions of utility that are frequently mentioned in debates about decision theory and examine some critical issues regarding their definition and measurability. Moreover, I (...)
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  2. Roberto Fumagalli (2012). On the Alleged Insignificance of the Primordial Existential Question. Studia Leibnitiana 44 (2).
    Leibniz’s question “why is there something rather than nothing?”, also known as the Primordial Existential Question, has often been the focus of intense philosophical controversy. While some authors take it to pose a profound metaphysical puzzle, others denounce the alleged lack of meaning or the inconceivability of the idea of nothingness. In a series of articles, Adolf Grünbaum develops an empirically informed critique with the aim to demonstrate that the Primordial Existential Question poses a “non-issue” which does not require explanation. (...)
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  3.  49
    Roberto Fumagalli (2011). On the Neural Enrichment of Economic Models: Tractability, Trade-Offs and Multiple Levels of Description. Biology and Philosophy 26 (5):617-635.
    In the recent literature at the interface between economics, biology and neuroscience, several authors argue that by adopting an interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of decision making, economists will be able to construct predictively and explanatorily superior models. However, most economists remain quite reluctant to import biological or neural insights into their account of choice behaviour. In this paper, I reconstruct and critique one of the main arguments by means of which economists attempt to vindicate their conservative position. Furthermore, I (...)
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  4.  18
    Roberto Fumagalli (2015). No Learning From Minimal Models. Philosophy of Science 82 (5):798-809.
    This article examines the issue of whether consideration of so-called minimal models can prompt learning about real-world targets. Using a widely cited example as a test case, it argues against the increasingly popular view that consideration of minimal models can prompt learning about such targets. The article criticizes influential defenses of this view for failing to explicate by virtue of what properties or features minimal models supposedly prompt learning. It then argues that consideration of minimal models cannot prompt learning about (...)
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  5.  4
    Roberto Fumagalli (forthcoming). On the Neural Enrichment of Economic Models: Recasting the Challenge. Biology and Philosophy:1-20.
    In a recent article in this Journal, Fumagalli argues that economists are provisionally justified in resisting prominent calls to integrate neural variables into economic models of choice. In other articles, various authors engage with Fumagalli’s argument and try to substantiate three often-made claims concerning neuroeconomic modelling. First, the benefits derivable from neurally informing some economic models of choice do not involve significant tractability costs. Second, neuroeconomic modelling is best understood within Marr’s three-level of analysis framework for information-processing systems. And third, (...)
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  6.  27
    Roberto Fumagalli (2010). The Disunity of Neuroeconomics: A Methodological Appraisal. Journal of Economic Methodology 17 (2):119-131.
    The recent advancements at the interface between economics and neuroscience have encouraged neuroeconomists to raise several criticisms concerning the economic theory of choice. At present, however, there is little agreement with regard to the theoretical presuppositions and the explanatory aims of neuroeconomics. In this paper, I assess the scope and the significance of neuroeconomists' divergences, casting doubt on their attempts to provide a unified theoretical framework for analysing human choice behaviour. Moreover, I highlight some respects in which methodologically informed considerations (...)
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  7.  16
    Roberto Fumagalli (2016). Choice Models and Realistic Ontologies: Three Challenges to Neuro-Psychological Modellers. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 6 (1):145-164.
    Choice modellers are frequently criticized for failing to provide accurate representations of the neuro-psychological substrates of decisions. Several authors maintain that recent neuro-psychological findings enable choice modellers to overcome this alleged shortcoming. Some advocate a realistic interpretation of neuro-psychological models of choice, according to which these models posit sub-personal entities with specific neuro-psychological counterparts and characterize those entities accurately. In this article, I articulate and defend three complementary arguments to demonstrate that, contrary to emerging consensus, even the best available neuro-psychological (...)
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  8.  7
    Roberto Fumagalli (2016). Why We Cannot Learn From Minimal Models. Erkenntnis 81 (3):433-455.
    Philosophers of science have developed several accounts of how consideration of scientific models can prompt learning about real-world targets. In recent years, various authors advocated the thesis that consideration of so-called minimal models can prompt learning about such targets. In this paper, I draw on the philosophical literature on scientific modelling and on widely cited illustrations from economics and biology to argue that this thesis fails to withstand scrutiny. More specifically, I criticize leading proponents of such thesis for failing to (...)
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  9.  36
    Roberto Fumagalli (2015). Five Theses on Neuroeconomics. Journal of Economic Methodology 23 (1):77-96.
    Over the last decade, neuroeconomic research has attracted increasing attention by economic modellers and methodologists. In this paper, I examine five issues about neuroeconomic modelling and methodology that have recently been subject to considerable controversy. For each issue, I explicate and appraise prominent neuroeconomists' findings, focusing on those that are claimed to directly inform economic theorizing. Moreover, I assess often-made assertions concerning how neuroeconomic research putatively advances the economic modelling of choice. In doing so, I combine review and critical arguments (...)
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  10.  35
    Roberto Fumagalli (forthcoming). Why We Cannot Learn From Minimal Models. Erkenntnis:1-23.
    Philosophers of science have developed several accounts of how consideration of scientific models can prompt learning about real-world targets. In recent years, various authors advocated the thesis that consideration of so-called minimal models can prompt learning about such targets. In this paper, I draw on the philosophical literature on scientific modelling and on widely cited illustrations from economics and biology to argue that this thesis fails to withstand scrutiny. More specifically, I criticize leading proponents of such thesis for failing to (...)
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  11.  6
    Roberto Fumagalli (forthcoming). Decision Sciences and the New Case for Paternalism: Three Welfare-Related Justificatory Challenges. Social Choice and Welfare.
    Several authors have recently advocated a so-called new case for paternalism, according to which empirical findings from distinct decision sciences provide compelling reasons in favour of paternalistic interference. In their view, the available behavioural and neuro-psychological findings enable paternalists to address traditional anti-paternalistic objections and reliably enhance the well-being of their target agents. In this paper, I combine insights from decision-making research, moral philosophy and evidence-based policy evaluation to assess the merits of this case. In particular, I articulate and defend (...)
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  12.  9
    Roberto Fumagalli (2016). Economics, Psychology, and the Unity of the Decision Sciences. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 46 (2):103-128.
    In recent years, several authors have reconstructed the relationship between 20th-century economic theory and neuro-psychological research in terms of a three-stage narrative of initial unity, increasing separation, and ongoing reunification. In this article, I draw on major developments in economic theory and neuro-psychological research to provide a descriptive and normative critique of this reconstruction. Moreover, I put forward a reconstruction of the relationship between economics and neuro-psychology that, I claim, better fits both the available empirical evidence and the methodological foundations (...)
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  13.  12
    Roberto Fumagalli (2013). Economics for Real. Uskali Mäki and the Place of Truth in Economics, Edited by Aki Lehtinen, Jaakko Kuorikoski and Petri Ylikoski. Routledge, 2012, Xiii+ 280 Pages. [REVIEW] Economics and Philosophy 29 (2):283-289.
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