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Book part
Publication date: 8 April 2015

John B. Davis

This paper argues that since the utility function representation of the individual is derived from standard rationality theory, the view that rationality is bounded…

Abstract

This paper argues that since the utility function representation of the individual is derived from standard rationality theory, the view that rationality is bounded implies that individuality should be seen to be bounded as well. The meaning of this idea is developed in terms of two ways in which individuality is bounded, with one bound associated with bounded rationality in Kahneman and Tversky’s prospect theory and another bound associated with bounded rationality in Simon’s thinking. The two bounds on individuality are argued to be employed in agent-based modeling and social identity theory. How bounded individuality might be formally modeled is illustrated in an account of Kirman’s Marseille fish market analysis.

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 1992

John Conway O'Brien

John E. Elliott has been a professor of economics at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles since 1956 when he graduated from Harvard University with a…

Abstract

John E. Elliott has been a professor of economics at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles since 1956 when he graduated from Harvard University with a doctorate in economics. In that position at USC, John has distinguished himself not only as a scholar and prolific writer but also as an outstanding teacher. He has received every teaching honour which USC has within its power to bestow. Moreover, John has distinguished himself for his contribution to the well‐being of the faculty and to the advancement of its efforts to preserve and extend the concept of academic freedom. John E. Elliott was born in the year 1931 and the essays which comprise this Festschriftare written in celebration of his sixtieth birthday. The numerous awards he has received for the high quality of his teaching, for his creativity and innovation in the dissemination of knowledge, his record of books published, articles contributed to scholarly journals and book reviews are to be found in his curriculum vitae printed at the end of this work.

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International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 19 no. 10/11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 1992

John Conway O'Brien

John E. Elliott has been a professor of economics at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles since 1956 when he graduated from Harvard University with a…

Abstract

John E. Elliott has been a professor of economics at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles since 1956 when he graduated from Harvard University with a doctorate in economics. In that position at USC, John has distinguished himself not only as a scholar and prolific writer but also as an outstanding teacher. He has received every teaching honour which USC has within its power to bestow. Moreover, John has distinguished himself for his contribution to the wellbeing of the faculty and to the advancement of its efforts to preserve and extend the concept of academic freedom. John E. Elliott was born in the year 1931 and the essays which comprise this Festschrift are written in celebration of his sixtieth birthday. The numerous awards he has received for the high quality of his teaching, for his creativity and innovation in the dissemination of knowledge, his record of books published, articles contributed to scholarly journals, and book reviews, are to be found in his curriculum vitae printed at the end of this work.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 19 no. 7/8/9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Book part
Publication date: 16 December 2017

John B. Davis

In his 1931 unpublished “Surplus Product” manuscript Sraffa used an open–closed distinction to explain the relationship between the “economic field” and distribution. This…

Abstract

In his 1931 unpublished “Surplus Product” manuscript Sraffa used an open–closed distinction to explain the relationship between the “economic field” and distribution. This chapter examines Sraffa’s thinking in this regard, and shows how it allowed him to resolve a problem he encountered in his early objectivist representation of commodity production in economies with a surplus. The chapter argues that Sraffa adopted a view different from Bertalanffy’s general systems theory understanding of open and closed systems developed around the same time in such a way as to address the specific nature of economics. The chapter compares two related interpretations of Sraffa’s thinking in regard to the open–closed distinction developed by Arena and Ginzburg, and also addresses how Sraffa’s thinking regarding open and closed systems compares with similar thinking of Wittgenstein and Gramsci. The concluding discussion contrasts Sraffa’s causal reasoning with mainstream economics’ ceteris paribus method of causal reasoning.

Details

Including a Symposium on New Directions in Sraffa Scholarship
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-539-9

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Book part
Publication date: 10 June 2009

John B. Davis

Recent work on the theory of teams and team reasoning in game interactive settings is due principally to the late Michael Bacharach (Bacharach, 2006), who offers a…

Abstract

Recent work on the theory of teams and team reasoning in game interactive settings is due principally to the late Michael Bacharach (Bacharach, 2006), who offers a conception of the individual as a team member, and also to Martin Hollis (1998) and Robert Sugden and Natalie Gold (Sugden, 2000; Gold & Sugden, 2007), and is motivated by the conflict between what ordinary experience suggests people often to do and what rationality prescribes for them, such as in prisoner's dilemma games where individuals can choose to cooperate or defect. The source of the conflict, they suggest, is an ambiguity in the syntax of standard game theory, which is taken to pose the question individuals in games ask themselves as, “what should I do?,” but which might be taken to pose the question, particularly when individuals are working together with others as, “what should we do?” When taken in the latter way, each individual chooses according to what best promotes the team's objective and then performs the role appropriate as a member of that team or group. Bacharach understood this change in focus in terms of the different possible cognitive frames that individuals use to think about the world and developed a variable frame theory for rational play in games in which the frame adopted for a decision problem determines what counts as rational play (Janssen, 2001; Casajus, 2001).In order to explain how someone acts, we have to take account of the representation or model of her situation that she is using as she thinks what to do. The model varies with the cognitive frame in which she does her thinking. Her frame stands to her thoughts as a set of axes does to a graph; it circumscribes the thoughts that are logically possible for her (not ever, but at that time). (Bacharach, 2006, p. 69)Sugden understands this framing idea in terms of the theory of focal points following Thomas Schelling's emphasis on the role of salience in coordination games (Schelling, 1960), and his theory similarly ties decision-making to the way the game is understood (Sugden, 1995). This all recalls what Tversky and Kahneman (1981, 1986) termed standard's theory's description invariance assumption, whose abandonment makes it possible to bring a variety of the insights from psychology to bear on rationality in economics.

Details

A Research Annual
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-656-0

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 1992

John B. Davis

Explores Keynes′s long‐term policy proposals as social reform. Usingearly unpublished philosophical papers of Keynes, the argument is thatKeynes′s long‐term policy…

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Abstract

Explores Keynes′s long‐term policy proposals as social reform. Using early unpublished philosophical papers of Keynes, the argument is that Keynes′s long‐term policy proposals focused on reconciling “being good” and “doing good”. The socialization of investment was meant to bring about this reconciliation.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 19 no. 10/11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1989

John B. Davis

The affinities of Smith′s invisible hand notion and Hegel′s cunningof reason are examined through a study of all the key locations in whichthe invisible hand and cunning…

Abstract

The affinities of Smith′s invisible hand notion and Hegel′s cunning of reason are examined through a study of all the key locations in which the invisible hand and cunning of reason are introduced. Despite their differences in orientation and philosophy, both writers reach similar conclusions regarding the play of self‐interest and the emergence of the social good. Specifically, each requires a deus ex machina – Providence or Geist – to generate the necessary telosthat supplements their respective logical arguments concerning the concrete play of interest. At the same time, each view provides little to explain how individualism creates the greater social good, so that recourse in each argument to an extra‐social entity obscures the actual functioning of the social order. The common approaches of the two very different thinkers thus reflects on the general requirements and dilemmas of arguments concerning the social good and individual interest.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 16 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2005

John B. Davis

The paper examines the dependence of the positivist and welfarist preference satisfaction paradigm of neoclassical economics upon an implicit functionalist philosophy of…

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Abstract

Purpose

The paper examines the dependence of the positivist and welfarist preference satisfaction paradigm of neoclassical economics upon an implicit functionalist philosophy of mind. Functionalism is the doctrine that mental states are strictly materialistic and understandable in cause‐effect terms. An important aspect of functionalism is the multiple realizability thesis, namely, that mental states can be realized in any type of hardware, whether human brain or computer.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach used involves investigating the fact‐value distinction after Robbins in terms of the positivist meta‐ethical view known as emotivism, and then explaining emotivism as inherently functionalist. Functionalist thinking itself is explained in terms of contemporary philosophy of mind.

Findings

An important finding is that the preference satisfaction paradigm can be shown to be as suitable to artificial intelligence systems as to human beings. A consequence of this is that normative concerns are increasingly difficult to address in connection with the neoclassical thinking about economic agents.

Research limitations/implications

The paper does not investigate more recent research programs in economics (such as behavioural economics) that depart from basic neoclassical assumptions.

Practical implications

A practical implication of the paper is that it shifts attention to previously un‐emphasized aspects of neoclassical thinking.

Originality/value

The paper's value to explain the relation of economics to ethics in neoclassical economics in connection with functionalist philosophy of mind.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 32 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Book part
Publication date: 20 July 2012

John B. Davis

Samuels always saw the history of economics as intellectual history (Samuels, 1974). The history of economics could not be confined to a record of doctrines economists…

Abstract

Samuels always saw the history of economics as intellectual history (Samuels, 1974). The history of economics could not be confined to a record of doctrines economists have advanced, particularly as found in a handful of key written texts, since these doctrines had to be understood in their historical context along with many other types of historical evidence and materials. That is, economic doctrines do not stand on their own, however plausible and well-argued they may appear to be, but have their meaning and credibility according to how well they along with many other historical materials speak to the issues of their time. While this seems an obvious and correct point to make about how to understand the history of economics, Samuels argued that it turns out to be more far-reaching than it initially appears when one considers the character of the world which economic doctrines must somehow explain together with the problem of representation.First, social reality is itself heterogeneous and ambiguous … [which] permits a complex and heterogeneous body of knowledge thereof. Second, our modes of intellectualizing and interpreting social reality are complex and heterogeneous: there are diverse epistemological credentials, diverse modes of thought, and diverse systems of rationality. (Samuels, 1974, p. 306)

Details

Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology: A Research Annual
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-824-3

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Book part
Publication date: 16 December 2017

Abstract

Details

Including a Symposium on New Directions in Sraffa Scholarship
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-539-9

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