- Rational and moral action : a critical survey of rational choice theory
- Award date
- 5 June 2009
- Number of pages
- Amsterdam: Univrsiteit van Amsterdam
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB)
- Amsterdam School of Economics Research Institute (ASE-RI)
This book is about rational choice theory from a different point of view. It is different for three reasons. First, it pays attention to the unintended consequences of intended actions. Second, it employs a non-instrumental approach to moral actions. And third, it argues that choice opportunities matter. These subjects are elaborated in the Parts II, III, and IV of this book. Part I deals with a critical outline of rational choice theory as it is conventionally understood. This book is focused on four objectives. The first is to present an overview of rational choice theory, to reveal its diversity, to critically assess its merits and inadequacies and to formulate proposals for modifying it. The second is to outline an institutional approach to rational choice theory. The third is to demonstrate how economic science can fruitfully discuss the normative (especially the moral) aspects of individual and collective choice behavior. And the fourth is to present a comparative analysis of ethical theories about collective well-being and social justice. I conclude with a discussion about the concept of liberty. I try to explain why the negative concept of liberty is so overwhelmingly endorsed in rational choice theory by referring to the writings of Hayek. I argue that the positive conception of liberty is most helpful to support the opportunity concept of choice.
- Research conducted at: Universiteit van Amsterdam
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