The limits of decision and choice

Theory and Society 47 (6):805-841 (2018)
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Abstract

Concepts of decision, choice, decision-maker, and decision-making are common practical tools in both social science and natural science, on which scientific knowledge, policy implications, and moral recommendations are based. In this article I address three questions. First, I look into how present-day social scientists and natural scientists use decision/choice concepts. What are they used for? Second, scientists may differ in the application of decision/choice to X, and they may explicitly disagree about the applicability of decision/choice to X. Where exactly do these disagreements lie? Third, I ask how scientists should use decision/choice concepts. What are they correctly and incorrectly used for? I argue that scientists must responsibly attend to a methodological demand: you have to have a principled, non-ad hoc, well-argued-for way of telling where decision/choice applicability ends. Thus, I aim to minimize the risk of conceptual stretching and foster responsible conceptual practices in a large body of scientific work.

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Gabriel Abend
University of Lucerne

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What is it like to be a bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
Reason, truth, and history.Hilary Putnam - 1981 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Verbal Disputes.David J. Chalmers - 2011 - Philosophical Review 120 (4):515-566.
Reason, Truth and History.Hilary Putnam - 1981 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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