•  3
    We're all behavioral economists now
    Journal of Economic Methodology 1-13. forthcoming.
    ABSTRACTBehavioral economics has long defined itself in opposition to neoclassical economics, but recent developments suggest a synthesis may be on the horizon. In particular, several economists have argued that behavioral factors can be incorporated into standard theory, and that the days of behavioral economics are therefore numbered. This paper explores the proposed synthesis and argues that it is distinctly behavioral in nature – not neoclassical. Far from indicating that behavioral economic…Read more
  •  16
    What Preferences Really Are
    Philosophy of Science 85 (4): 660-681. 2018.
    Daniel M. Hausman holds that preferences in economics are total subjective comparative evaluations—subjective judgments to the effect that something is better than something else all things told—and that economists are right to employ this conception of preference. Here, I argue against both parts of Hausman’s thesis. The failure of Hausman’s account, I continue, reflects a deeper problem, that is, that preferences in economics do not need an explicit definition of the kind that he seeks. Noneth…Read more
  •  14
    How economists work and think
    Journal of Economic Methodology 22 (2): 247-248. 2015.
  •  418
    Are subjective measures of well-being 'direct'?
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (1). 2011.
    Subjective measures of well-being?measures based on answers to questions such as ?Taking things all together, how would you say things are these days?would you say you're very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy these days???are often presented as superior to more traditional economic welfare measures, e.g., for public policy purposes. This paper aims to spell out and assess what I will call the argument from directness: the notion that subjective measures of well-being better represent well-b…Read more
  •  5
    The history of Hayek’s theory of cultural evolution
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 33 (4): 695-718. 2002.
  • Review of Alan Ebenstein's Friedrich Hayek: A biography (review)
    Economics and Philosophy 18 (2): 381-385. 2002.
  •  569
    Economists as experts: Overconfidence in theory and practice
    Journal of Economic Methodology 13 (1): 1-24. 2006.
    Drawing on research in the psychology of judgment and decision making, I argue that individual economists acting as experts in matters of public policy are likely to be victims of significant overconfidence. The case is based on the pervasiveness of the phenomenon, the nature of the task facing economists?as?experts, and the character of the institutional constraints under which they operate. Moreover, I argue that economist overconfidence can have dramatic consequences. Finally, I explore how t…Read more
  •  479
    This paper examines the notion of “subjective well-being” as it is used in literature on subjective measures of well-being. I argue that those who employ the notion differ at least superficially on at least two points: first, about the relationship between subjective well-being and well-being simpliciter, and second, about the constituents of subjective well-being. In an effort to reconcile the differences, I propose an interpretation according to which subjective measures presuppose preference …Read more
  •  31
    Is Empirical Research Relevant to Philosophical Conclusions?
    Res Philosophica 90 (3): 365-385. 2013.
    Much recent philosophical literature on happiness and satisfaction is based on the belief that empirical research is relevant to philosophical conclusions. In his2010 book What is This Thing Called Happiness? Fred Feldman begs to differ. He suggests that there is no evidence that empirical research is relevant to long-standing philosophical questions; consequently, that philosophers have little reason to pay attention to the work of psychologists or economists; and that philosophers need not fea…Read more
  •  131
    Commentary
    with Valerie Tiberius
    In the history of Western philosophy, questions of well-being and happiness have played a central role for some 2,500 years. Yet, when it comes to the systematic empirical study of happiness and satisfaction, philosophers are relative latecomers. Empirically-minded psychologists began studying systematically the determinants and distribution of happiness and satisfaction – understood as positive or desirable subjectively experienced mental states – during the 1920’s and 30’s, as personality psyc…Read more
  •  182
    Is it possible to measure happiness?
    European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (2): 221-240. 2013.
    A ubiquitous argument against mental-state accounts of well-being is based on the notion that mental states like happiness and satisfaction simply cannot be measured. The purpose of this paper is to articulate and to assess this “argument from measurability.” My main thesis is that the argument fails: on the most charitable interpretation, it relies on the false proposition that measurement requires the existence of an observable ordering satisfying conditions like transitivity. The failure of t…Read more
  •  3
    6 Current trends in welfare measurement
    In J. B. Davis & D. W. Hands (eds.), Elgar Companion to Recent Economic Methodology, Edward Elgar Publishers. pp. 121. 2011.
  •  34
    To navigate safely in the vast sea of empirical facts
    Synthese 192 (11): 3557-3575. 2015.
    This paper examines issues of ontology and methodology in behavioral economics: the attempt to increase the explanatory and predictive power of economic theory by providing it with more psychologically plausible foundations. Of special interest is the epistemological status of neoclassical economic theory within behavioral economics, the runaway success story of contemporary economics. Behavioral economists aspire to replace the fundamental assumptions of orthodox, neoclassical economic theory. …Read more
  •  326
    The history of Hayek's theory of cultural evolution
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 33 (4): 695-718. 2002.
    This paper traces the historical origins of Friedrich A. Hayek's theory of cultural evolution, and argues that Hayek's evolutionary thought was significantly inspired by Alexander M. Carr-Saunders and Oxford zoology. While traditional Hayek scholarship emphasizes the influence of Carl Menger and the British eighteenth-century moral philosophers, I claim that these sources underdetermine what was most characteristic of Hayek's theory, viz. the idea that cultural evolution is a matter of group sel…Read more
  •  615
    Levi's account of preference reversals
    Economics and Philosophy 18 (2): 287-302. 2002.
    This paper argues that Isaac Levi's account of preference reversals is only a limited success. Levi succeeds in showing that an agent acting in accord with his theory may exhibit reversals. Nevertheless, the specific account that Levi presents in order to accommodate the behavior of experimental subjects appears to be disconfirmed by available evidence.
  •  776
    In promoting spontaneous orders – orders that evolve in a process of cultural evolution – as “efficient,” “beneficial,” and “advantageous,” Friedrich A. Hayek (1899-1992) has often been attributed the belief that there is something desirable about them. For this reason, he has been accused of committing the naturalistic fallacy, that is, of trying to derive an “ought” from an “is.” It appears that Hayek was..
  •  467
    The Philosophical Foundations of Subjective Measures Of Well-Being
    In Luigino Bruni, Flavio Comim & Maurizio Pugno (eds.), Capabilities and Happiness, Oxford University Press. 2008.
  •  3