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A framework for the unification of the behavioral sciences

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 April 2007

Herbert Gintis
Affiliation:
Behavioral Sciences, Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, NM 87501 Department of Economics, Central European University, Budapest, H-1051 Hungaryhgintis@comcast.nethttp://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~gintis

Abstract

The various behavioral disciplines model human behavior in distinct and incompatible ways. Yet, recent theoretical and empirical developments have created the conditions for rendering coherent the areas of overlap of the various behavioral disciplines. The analytical tools deployed in this task incorporate core principles from several behavioral disciplines. The proposed framework recognizes evolutionary theory, covering both genetic and cultural evolution, as the integrating principle of behavioral science. Moreover, if decision theory and game theory are broadened to encompass other-regarding preferences, they become capable of modeling all aspects of decision making, including those normally considered “psychological,” “sociological,” or “anthropological.” The mind as a decision-making organ then becomes the organizing principle of psychology.

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Main Article
Copyright
2007 Cambridge University Press

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