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From homo economicus to homo agens: Toward a subjective rationality for entrepreneurship

Mark D. Packard and Per Bylund

Journal of Business Venturing, 2021, vol. 36, issue 6

Abstract: The aim of this article is to expound the subjectivist position on the concept of ‘rationality.’ To begin, we review the longstanding and still ongoing debate in philosophy over the differences (or not) between the natural and social sciences. While positivism, which supposes no difference between the sciences, has been the tradition whence the economic rationality construct (homo economicus and its modern variants) has derived, a longstanding interpretivist tradition holds that social science is innately distinct from, and should be studied differently than, the natural sciences. From this interpretivist vantage, we assess and critique the positivist conception of rationality and put forth a subjectivist account of rationality as a process in its stead. Rationality here emerges as an intentional process of betterment over time. Because entrepreneurship is definitionally such a process, we explore the implications of this process rationality for entrepreneurial action theory.

Keywords: Subjectivism; Interpretivism; Rationality; Entrepreneurship; Philosophy of science (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusvent.2021.106159

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