Explanatory relevance across disciplinary boundaries: the case of neuroeconomics

Journal of Economic Methodology 17 (2):219–228 (2010)
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Abstract

Many of the arguments for neuroeconomics rely on mistaken assumptions about criteria of explanatory relevance across disciplinary boundaries and fail to distinguish between evidential and explanatory relevance. Building on recent philosophical work on mechanistic research programmes and the contrastive counterfactual theory of explanation, we argue that explaining an explanatory presupposition or providing a lower-level explanation does not necessarily constitute explanatory improvement. Neuroscientific findings have explanatory relevance only when they inform a causal and explanatory account of the psychology of human decision-making.

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Author Profiles

Petri Ylikoski
University of Helsinki
Jaakko Kuorikoski
University of Helsinki