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3 - From the “Reconciliation Problem” to an Individuality Reconstruction Problem

from Part I - The Failed Pathway and Exit Strategies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 January 2024

John B. Davis
Affiliation:
Marquette University, Wisconsin and Universiteit van Amsterdam
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Summary

Chapter 3 links context-dependent choice with what has recently been called in economics the “reconciliation problem” between positive and normative economics, and argues that efforts to solve that problem have led to a number of different strategies for reconstructing economics’ individual conception. It first reviews the mainstream’s “inner rational agent” attempt to preserve Homo economicus and then contrasts two broad strategies for reconstructing economics’ individual conception based on opposing views of individual autonomy: an “internalist” view that makes it depend on private subjectivity, and an “externalist” view that makes it depend on economic and social institutions. The chapter reviews four, recent strategies in the literature which take the “externalist” view and move toward a socially embedded individual conception. All four make ability to adjust part of what people are, but all four remain attached to the idea that individuals are only made up of preferences. Thus, I argue they fail to explain how people are autonomous individuals able to choose and act freely.

Type
Chapter
Information
Identity, Capabilities, and Changing Economics
Reflexive, Adaptive, Socially Embedded Individuals
, pp. 53 - 78
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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