Sen’s criticism of revealed preference theory and its ‘neo-samuelsonian critique’: a methodological and theoretical assessment

Journal of Economic Methodology 23 (4):349-373 (2016)
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Abstract

This paper evaluates how Amartya Sen’s critique of revealed preference theory stands against the latter’s contemporary, ‘neo-Samuelsonian’ version. Neo- Samuelsonians have argued that Sen’s arguments against RPT are innocuous, in particular once it is acknowledged that RPT does not assume away the existence of motivations or other latent psychological or cognitive processes. Sen’s claims that preferences and choices need to be distinguished and that external factors need to be taken into account to analyze the act of choice then appear to be irrelevant. However, while it is true that contemporary revealed preference theory partially evades Sen’s critique, I show that the latter is still relevant outside the restricted areas of consumer choice and market dynamics. In particular, Sen’s views regarding the importance of incomplete preferences and the multiplicity of levels of agency can hardly be integrated into the framework of CRPT. This is a significant limit, given the imperialistic claims of some of the proponents of the latter.

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Citations of this work

Normes et normativité en économie.Antoinette Baujard, Judith Favereau & Charles Girard - 2021 - Revue de Philosophie Économique 21 (1):3-18.
Neo-Samuelsonian Welfare Economics: From Economic to Normative Agency.Cyril Hédoin - 2021 - Revue de Philosophie Économique 21 (1):129-161.
Neo-Samuelsonian Welfare Economics: From Economic to Normative Agency.Cyril Hédoin - 2021 - Revue de Philosophie Économique 21 (1):129-161.

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References found in this work

Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life.David L. Hull - 1997 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (3):435-438.
Rationality in Action: A Symposium.Barry Smith - 2001 - Philosophical Explorations 4 (2):66-94.

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