Preferences: neither behavioural nor mental

Economics and Philosophy 35 (3):383-401 (2019)
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Recent debates on the nature of preferences in economics have typically assumed that they are to be interpreted either as behavioural regularities or as mental states. In this paper I challenge this dichotomy and argue that neither interpretation is consistent with scientific practice in choice theory and behavioural economics. Preferences are belief-dependent dispositions with a multiply realizable causal basis, which explains why economists are reluctant to make a commitment about their interpretation.



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Francesco Guala
Università degli Studi di Milano

Citations of this work

In Defence of Revealed Preference Theory.Johanna Thoma - 2021 - Economics and Philosophy 37 (2):163-187.
Functionalism and the role of psychology in economics.Christopher Clarke - 2020 - Journal of Economic Methodology 27 (4):292-310.
What Preferences Really Are.Erik Angner - 2018 - Philosophy of Science 85 (4):660-681.
Preferences.Sven Ove Hansson & Till Grüne-Yanoff - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
On the Individuation of Choice Options.Roberto Fumagalli - 2020 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 50 (4):338-365.

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