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Constructivist and Ecological Rationality in Economics

  • Vernon L. Smith

When we leave our closet, and engage in the common affairs of life, (reason's) conclusions seem to vanish, like the phantoms of the night on the appearance of the morning; and 'tis difficult for us to retain even that conviction, which we had attained with difficulty (Hume, 1739/, p 507). we must constantly adjust our lives, our thoughts and our emotions, in order to live simultaneously within different kinds of orders according to different rules. If we were to apply the unmodified, uncurbed rules (of caring intervention to do visible 'good') of the small band or troop, or our families to the (extended order of cooperation through markets), as our instincts and sentimental yearnings often make us wish to do, we would destroy it. Yet if we were to always apply the (noncooperative) rules of the extended order to our more intimate groupings, we would crush them. (Hayek, 1988, p 18). (Italics are his, parenthetical reductions are mine).

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 93 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 465-508

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:93:y:2003:i:3:p:465-508
Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282803322156954
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