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Rational, Normative and Procedural Theories of Beliefs: Can They Explain Internal Motivations?

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  • Elias Khalil

Abstract

This paper offers three-way taxonomy of theories of beliefs. For rational theories, beliefs are determined by given information and updated via Bayes's rule. For normative theory, best represented by Hayek and sociological theory, beliefs are categories that precede information and, in fact, formulate the otherwise impenetrable information. For procedural theory, best represented by Herbert Simon and pragmatic philosophy, while beliefs formulate the information, they can be replaced in response to shocks. While each theory manages to capture one kind of belief, all three largely fail to explain internal motivations that characterize entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity. The failure arises from the fact that the three theories are about cognitive beliefs (i.e., beliefs about the world), while internal motivations are beliefs concerning self-ability.

Suggested Citation

  • Elias Khalil, 2011. "Rational, Normative and Procedural Theories of Beliefs: Can They Explain Internal Motivations?," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(3), pages 641-664.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:jeciss:v:45:y:2011:i:3:p:641-664
    DOI: 10.2753/JEI0021-3624450307
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    Cited by:

    1. Khalil, Elias L., 2010. "The Bayesian fallacy: Distinguishing internal motivations and religious beliefs from other beliefs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 268-280, August.
    2. Marciano, Alain & Khalil, Elias L., 2012. "Optimization, path dependence and the law: Can judges promote efficiency?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 72-82.
    3. Elias Khalil, 2013. "Practical beliefs vs. scientific beliefs: two kinds of maximization," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 74(1), pages 107-126, January.

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