EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Mentalism versus behaviourism in economics: a philosophy-of-science perspective

Franz Dietrich and Christian List

LSE Research Online Documents on Economics from London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library

Abstract: Behaviourism is the view that preferences, beliefs, and other mental states in social-scientific theories are nothing but constructs re-describing people’s behaviour. Mentalism is the view that they capture real phenomena, on a par with the unobservables in science, such as electrons and electromagnetic fields. While behaviourism has gone out of fashion in psychology, it remains influential in economics, especially in ‘revealed preference’ theory. We defend mentalism in economics, construed as a positive science, and show that it fits best scientific practice. We distinguish mentalism from, and reject, the radical neuroeconomic view that behaviour should be explained in terms of brain processes, as distinct from mental states.

Keywords: mentalism; behaviourism; revealed preference; decision theory; scientific realism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016-03-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-evo, nep-pke and nep-upt
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (14) Track citations by RSS feed

Published in Economics and Philosophy, 3, March, 2016, 32(2), pp. 249-281. ISSN: 0266-2671

Downloads: (external link)
http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/62444/ Open access version. (application/pdf)

Related works:
Journal Article: MENTALISM VERSUS BEHAVIOURISM IN ECONOMICS: A PHILOSOPHY-OF-SCIENCE PERSPECTIVE (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Mentalism Versus Behaviourism in Economics: A Philosophy-of-Science Perspective (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Mentalism Versus Behaviourism in Economics: A Philosophy-of-Science Perspective (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Mentalism Versus Behaviourism in Economics: A Philosophy-of-Science Perspective (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Mentalism Versus Behaviourism in Economics: A Philosophy-of-Science Perspective (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Mentalism versus behaviourism in economics: a philosophy-of-science perspective (2012) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ehl:lserod:62444

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in LSE Research Online Documents on Economics from London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library LSE Library Portugal Street London, WC2A 2HD, U.K.. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by LSERO Manager ().

 
Page updated 2023-06-15
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:62444