Chapter

Custom and Style

Ekkehart Schlicht

in On Custom in the Economy

Published in print March 1998 | ISBN: 9780198292241
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596865 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198292244.003.0011
 Custom and Style

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Surveys the view developed so far. The human mind has a propensity to form rules. This makes learning possible. At the same time, humans are endowed with a preference for rule following, for making rules, and for a match between emotion, cognition, and action. Emotion can be interpreted as brought about by this desire.

The view maintained in this book is contrasted with the prevailing (‘strategic’) interpretation of custom as a system of conventions. Because rule formation is not an exclusively social phenomenon, it is erroneous to interpret rules exclusively in terms of interaction. Interaction builds on rules and their cognitive, emotional, and habitual entailments, but cannot explain rule formation itself. The emergence of entitlements and obligations may be understood from this perspective, giving rise to transactions. Further, the rules of custom form a system. Overall coherence is brought about as a matter of style.

Keywords: action; cognition; coherence; conventions; emotions; habit; rule formation; style; transactions

Chapter.  6557 words. 

Subjects: Microeconomics

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