Economics as an argument

Psychologists think highly of us economists – which has probably to do with our supposedly superior math skills. Famous psychologists like Anderson and Edwards created whole new fields in psychology on the basis of an interpretation of economics.  Anderson’s Act(-R) and Edwards’ Behavioral Decision Theory were initiated at least partly to test or provide an underlying structure for economics. But what bothers me is that their understanding of (the histroy of) economics differs completely from that of economics and its historians. Edwards for instance, introduces Samuelson as providing a normative psychological theory on individual human decision behavior under certainty, and sets himself to experimentally testing this theory. As a result our historical reflections will only be comprehensible to economists. My God, we really are an endangered species.

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2 thoughts on “Economics as an argument

  1. On the other hand, some psychologists like Kahneman (who by the way earned a Nobel prize in economics) are saying that we should go “Back to Bentham” for the sake of finding a suitable theory of utility. I would not be as pessimistic as you, Floris, I think exchanges in cognitive psychology and economics are going both ways these days and most of the experiments made by psychologists have demonstrated that expected utility cum revealed preferences theory is not working (at least for humans). And you know what? Some economists have accepted this statement!

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