- In brains we trust: How neuroeconomists stylize trust, the brain, and the social world
- Award date
- 24 October 2014
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
The last decade saw the rise of neuroeconomics. This novel science exemplifies the widespread phenomenon of neuroscientists expanding their work sphere. In neuroeconomics, economists and psychologists join forces with neuroscientists to grapple with the nature of economic and social decision making. Amongst other things, neuroeconomists aim to understand a crucial element of social interaction, namely, trust.
This dissertation analyzes how in neuroeconomics trust is stylized and sociality and human nature are conceptualized, and why it is that we are to trust neuroeconomists’ results. Throughout, the philosophy of science developed by Ludwik Fleck guides the analysis. Both Fleck’s views of science as well as his methodology in studying science are defended and developed.
The dissertation consists of two parts. Part I delineates the area of problems and questions (chapter 1), and elaborates (chapter 2) and illustrates (chapter 3) the conceptual toolkit for dealing with these.
Part II revolves around neuroeconomic research concerning trust. Chapter 4 analyzes different literary forms used to convey the neuroeconomics of trust. Chapter 5 details the state of the art in the neuroeconomics of trust. Subsequently, in chapter 6 the style of neuroeconomics is analyzed by investigating rhetorical devices and the roles played in neuroeconomics by animal models, functional magnetic resonance imaging and game theory. Throughout, historical ties and societal implications are analyzed. Finally, it is argued that neuroeconomics owes its strength more to the intricacy of the network of elements it engages than to the solidity or unavoidability of any of these elements individually (chapter 7).
- Research conducted at: Universiteit van Amsterdam
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