Charles Darwin meets Amoeba economicus: Why Natural Selection Cannot Explain Rationality
AbstractAdvocates of natural selection usually regard rationality as redundant, i.e., as a mere linguistic device to describe natural selection. But this "Redundancy Thesis" faces the anomaly that rationality differs from natural selection. One solution is to conceive rationality as a trait selected by the neo-Darwinian mechanism of natural selection as . But this "Rationality-qua-Trait Thesis" faces a problem as well: Following neo-Darwinism, one cannot classify one allele of, e.g., eyesight as better than another without reference to constraintsâ€”while one can classify rationality as better than irrationality irrespective of constraints. Therefore, natural selection cannot be a trait. This leads us to the only solution: Rationality is actually a method that cannot be reduced to a trait. This "Rationality-qua-Method Thesis" lays the ground for alternative, developmental views of evolution.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group in its series Papers on Economics and Evolution with number 2006-22.
Date of creation: Jan 2007
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- D0 - Microeconomics - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-01-23 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2007-01-23 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-EVO-2007-01-23 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-HPE-2007-01-23 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-NEU-2007-01-23 (Neuroeconomics)
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"A Theory of Rational Addiction,"
University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State
41, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
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