Economics and Philosophy 18 (1):157-182 (2002)
Irrational people create problems not only for themselves and those around them, but also for those who study them. They cause trouble for social scientists because their actions are inexplicable, at least according to generally accepted models of explanation. Explanations in the social sciences normally assume the form of rationalizations: actions are explained by showing that, relative to what the subjects believe and desire, the actions were done for good reasons. Conversely, when good reasons cannot be found for why someone acted as they did, their behavior remains inscrutable. Irrational people, therefore, stymie social scientists because their actions do not reveal the rationality needed to produce adequate explanations.
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