Integrating the Dynamics of Multiscale Economic Agency

Don Ross

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780195189254
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199892105 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Integrating the Dynamics of Multiscale Economic Agency

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This article is about the relationship between people, as modeled by the economist's concept of agency, and other entities modeled as agents in economics—in particular, sub-personal interests, as in models descended from Schelling (1978, 1980, 1984), and functional parts of people's brains, as modeled in neuroeconomics. This subject would not be very interesting if people and subpersonal interests reduced to or were simple additive functions of functional parts of their brains. However, for reasons that unfold here, it is thought that this common idea is untenable. The relationship between people, subpersonal interests, and brain systems is complicated, not simple. The objective of this article is to shed some light on it, on the basis of recent empirical research. It does not aim at stating a comprehensive theory of the relationship, which would be a premature ambition at this point in our collective knowledge.

Keywords: economics; neuroeconomics; subpersonal interests; brain systems; empirical research

Article.  16791 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Epistemology

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