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A neurolinguistic approach to performativity in economics

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  • Carsten Herrmann-Pillath

Abstract

What makes institutions 'real'? One central notion has been emerging recently in sociology, which is 'performativity', a term borrowed from the philosophy of language. I propose a neurolinguistic approach to performativity that is based on John Searle's theory of institutions, especially his concept of a 'status function' and his explanation of rule-following as a neurophysiological disposition. Positing a status function is a performative act. I proceed in two steps to establish the neurolinguistic framework. First, I apply the concept of 'conceptual blending' borrowed from cognitive science on the status function, and give empirical applications from the research on performativity in financial markets. Second, I sketch the underlying neuroscience framework following the neural theory of metaphor, which I illustrate empirically with examples from behavioral finance and neuroeconomics.

Suggested Citation

  • Carsten Herrmann-Pillath, 2010. "A neurolinguistic approach to performativity in economics," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 241-260.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:17:y:2010:i:3:p:241-260
    DOI: 10.1080/1350178X.2010.500739
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    Keywords

    performativity; Searle's theory of institutions; conceptual blending; emergence of markets; neural theory of metaphor; neuroeconomics;

    JEL classification:

    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D87 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Neuroeconomics

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