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The context problematic, behavioral economics and the transactional view: an introduction to 'John Dewey and economic theory'

Listed author(s):
  • Elias Khalil

Are there empirical anomalies upon which Dewey's theory of action sheds better light than existing neoclassical and heterodox approaches? This introduction answers in the affirmative. They are the set of anomalies highlighted by behavioral economics. These anomalies stress the centrality of context. Neoclassical theorists react to the 'context problematic' by claiming that context, after all, is part of either the constraint set or the preference set. Dewey and his collaborator, Bentley, called such standard rationality theories 'interactional.' On the other hand, heterodox economists and mainstream sociologists and anthropologists appropriate the 'context problematic' to buttress their normative views on how constraints such as culture, norms, and budgets mold preferences after their image. Dewey and Bentley called such normative theories 'self-actional.' Both neoclassical theorists and their critics fail to see that context cannot be reduced to the constraint set, preference set, or set of norms. In contrast, Dewey and Bentley offer a fresh way to solve the 'context problematic,' what they call the 'transactional view.'

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Economic Methodology.

Volume (Year): 10 (2001)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 107-130

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:10:y:2001:i:2:p:107-130
DOI: 10.1080/1350178032000071020
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