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Digital issue
issue 3 - 2012
publisher Vita e Pensiero
format Digital issue | Pdf

Ebook format Pdf readable on these devices:


‘‘The whole breadth of reason’’: a step towards rethinking economics and rationality
by Simona Beretta, Mario A. Maggioni pages: 21 € 6.00
The paper, which acts as an introduction to the Special Issue devoted to ‘‘The whole breadth of reason’’, addresses the topic of economic rationality and discusses its strengths and weaknesses within an interdisciplinary perspective highlighting the relational dimension of agents and actions. Exiting the cage of homo economicus, we critically discuss both behavioral economics and neuro economics approaches, showing that they are not immune from limitations due to both dubious technical procedures and fragile epistemological foundations. When taking rational decision under structural uncertainty, human beings rely on default practices which are inherently developed and dynamically adapted within a community of concrete individuals; they also tend to provide persuasive justification of one’s belief to other people. The paper concludes that rationality is a powerful tool, within a relational, dynamic, realistic and ‘whole’ anthropology.
The good reasons for a broader reason
by Angelo Scola pages: 6 € 6.00
The superfluous postulate of human rationality
by Etienne Mullet pages: 20 € 6.00
If human beings were empirically shown to be irrational, would this finding destroy the foundations of economic science? We think not because we doubt that this postulate is needed as a foundation of economic science. We examine the laboratory experiments conducted by behavioral economists and experimental psychologists on human judgment and decision-making, using Bayes’ Theorem and the Expected Value model. We examine a number of issues: Can we base ourselves on experimenters’ full rationality for doubting of human rationality? Are rational models anything else than handy tools? Do humans’ minds function like rational tools or with rational tools? How an ‘‘irrational’’ human being could create anything ‘‘rational’’? Should rationality be subordinated to reason? Nature being neither rational nor irrational, is there any point in applying the concept of rationality to one its constituents? If human beings were rational forms of life, would this specie have survived?
Rationality and uncertainty
by Andrew Postlewaite, David Schmeidler pages: 5 € 6.00
Experimental psychologists and economists construct an individual or interactive decision situation in the laboratory. They find non-negligible differences between the observed behavior of participants and the theoretically implied behavior. We refer here to the expected utility theory and to strategic equilibrium in non-cooperative game theory. We comment on the question whether rationality, implies these theoretical behaviors and whether the non-negligible differences as above imply that participants in experiments are irrational. We also comment on the relation between rationality and consistency, in particular in situations of uncertainty.
Foundations of trust, interpersonal relationships and communities
by Guido Merzoni, Federico Trombetta pages: 17 € 6.00
We claim that the emergence of trust is best explained by relation-based arguments. After briefly surveying alternative explanations which concentrate on material payoffs both with self-centered and with other-regarding preferences, we examine theoretical discussions of cooperative and trust behavior framed in terms of attitudes, esteem and, most of all, intentions. An important implication of all these approaches is that the relational element makes human interactions different, as it is also documented by a lot of evidence produced by neuroeconomic experiments. When trust is based on relations and on the recognition of the others’ intentions, efficient outcomes are brought about by the agents’ (at least) partial disregard for the maximization of their material payoff and by heavily personalized interactions. Both these features are distinctive of the functioning of communities and the particular way how they work and solve coordination problems.
A brief intellectual history of the lesser depression
by Edward Hadas pages: 11 € 6.00
Globally, the real economy of goods and services functions better than ever in human history, but the financial and monetary system remains subject to crippling crises, including a severe one in 2008. This deviation can be explained by ‘‘the power of bad ideas’’, in particular policy-makers’ narrow focus on quantitative variables and their distrust of moral arguments. The combination leaves regulators and practitioners unable to recognise the role of greed and pride in finance. A moral approach could help reduce the financial system’s vulnerability. The description of economic activity in Benedict XVI’s Caritas in Veritate provides a good starting point. He offers a fundamentally non-monetary view of three economic arrangements: giving through exchange (commerce), giving through duty (taxes), and ‘‘gratuitousness and communion’’ (economic self-giving without concern for a return). The integration of the last into economic analysis would be particularly helpful.

Note e discussioni

Back to the future? Georg Simmel and C.S. Lewis revisited
by Simona Beretta, Mario A. Maggioni pages: 16 € 6.00
The search of virtue and the communitarian story. Conceptions of justice in Michael Sandel
by Andrea Villani pages: 15 € 6.00
This paper considers and analyses theses about justice supported by Michael Sandel. The crucial problem concerns the connection between the definition of good for every individual and for a society, and if this good must be defined and pursued freely, or if it can be established by other persons. The question is open and Sandel supports that not necessarily a society where exists the widest degree of freedom is also a good society. In such a situation Sandel supports the idea that in any case the possible choice for individual and society should be discussed in terms of reason, and yet maintaining the maximum freedom in the society. He emphasizes the need of a civic engagement by those who support the importance of moral values as identified according to the Communitarian tradition, and according what is thought as a personal and civic virtue to be practised.