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Preferences: Neither Behavioural nor Mental

Francesco Guala

Departmental Working Papers from Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano

Abstract: Recent debates on the nature of preferences in economics have typically assumed that they are to be interpreted either as behavioural regularities or as mental states. In this paper I challenge this dichotomy and argue that neither interpretation is consistent with scientific practice in choice theory and behavioural economics. Preferences are dispositions with a multiply realizable causal basis, which explains why economists are reluctant to make a commitment about their interpretation.

Keywords: Preferences; Utility; Behavioural economics; Behaviourism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B41 D01 D03 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017-02-17
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:mil:wpdepa:2017-05

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