This monograph is an attempt to explore the benefits from interdisciplinary research done by behavioral economists, psychologists and neuroscientists. Its starting point is the vision that, unlike most practicing economists, contemporary behavioral researchers seem to pursue the task of genuine scientific explanation as one that provides knowledge of a phenomenon’s causal history (i.e. it identifies the chain of events that produce the explanandum) and therefore yields understanding of its place in the causal structure of the world. The current work focused on the investigation of a controversial philosophical issue -the explanation of decision-making and the non-negligible roles emotions may play in it. This chapter briefly explains what I tried to accomplish in the previous chapters and why. This monograph is premised on the idea that behavioral economists engage in amending analytical models/theories of choice so as to improve the quality of predictions and explanations of behavior patterns in the real economic world, where individuals have limited knowledge and constrained computational facilities to deal with uncertainties about the future, risky prospects (and their consequences) including as well as other sources of interpersonal and intrapersonal conflict (chapters 2). With this in mind, I put forward the idea that behavioral economists make claims about the nature and purposes of theorizing and explanation of decision-making behavior that are consistent with a philosophical doctrine called scientific realism (chapter 3). I have suggested that behavioral economists can be interpreted as realists about models/theories of choice provided that they try to come up with improved representations of the complex phenomenon of decision-making by means of manipulations that serve to isolate those major elements in production of the explanandum phenomenon under study from the rest of the world. In so doing, these reformed accounts of choice behavior aim to improve the explanatory and predictive capabilities of economic analysis.

U.I. Mäki (Uskali) , J.J. Vromen (Jack)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus School of Philosophy

Muramatsu, R. (2006, November 16). Emotions in Action: an inquiry into the explanation of decision-making in the real economic world. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from