The modelling of bounded rationality is currently pursued by approaches that exhibit a wide diversity of methodologies. This special issue collects five contributions that discuss different methodological aspects of these approaches. In our introduction, we map the variety of methodological positions with respect to three questions. First, what kinds of evidence do the respective approaches consider relevant for modelling bounded rationality? Second, what kind of modelling desiderata do the respective approaches focus on? And third, how do the respective approaches justify (...) the normative validity of bounded rationality? To broaden the picture, we not only discusss the five contributions of this issue, but also include relevant positions from the extant literature. (shrink)
This paper investigates a limitation of the model of belief and knowledge prevailing in mainstream economics, namely the state-space model. Because of its set-theoretic nature, this model has difficulties in capturing the difference between expressions that designate the same object but have different meanings, i.e., expressions with the same extension but different intensions. This limitation generates puzzling results concerning what individuals believe or know about the world as well as what individuals believe or know about what other individuals believe or (...) know about the world. The paper connects these puzzling results to two issues that are relevant for economic theory beyond the state-space model, namely, framing effects and the distinction between the model-maker and agents that appear in the model. Finally, the paper discusses three possible solutions to the limitations of the state-space model, and concludes that the two alternatives that appear practicable also have significant drawbacks. (shrink)
Nash is famous for many inventions, but it is less known that he, simultaneously with Marschak, also was the first to axiomatize expected utility for risk. In particular, these authors were the first to state the independence condition, a condition that should have been but was not stated by von Neumann and Morgenstern. Marschak’s paper resulted from interactions with several people at the Cowles Commission. We document unique letters and personal communications with Nash, Samuelson, Arrow, Dalkey, and others, making plausible (...) that Nash made his discovery independently from the others. (shrink)
The paper reconstructs the connections between the evolution of Patrick Suppes’ measurement theory from 1951 to 1958 and the research in utility analysis he conducted between 1953 and 1957 within the Stanford Value Theory Project. In particular, the paper shows that Suppes’ superseding of the classical understanding of measurement, his endorsement of the representational view of measurement, and his conceiving of an axiomatic version of the latter were prompted by his research in utility analysis.
I examine some behavioural and heuristic models of individual decision-making and argue that the diverse psychological mechanisms these models posit are too demanding to be implemented, either consciously or unconsciously, by actual decision makers. Accordingly, and contrary to what their advocates typically claim, behavioural and heuristic models are best understood as ‘as-if’ models. I then sketch a version of scientific antirealism that justifies the practice of as-if modelling in decision theory but goes beyond traditional instrumentalism. Finally, I relate my account (...) of decision models to the recent controversy about mentalism versus behaviourism, reject both positions, and offer an alternative view. (shrink)