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Is Rationality Still a Useful Concept for Social Sciences ? Rationality at Cognitive Age

Abstract : Rational choice theory which remains the major paradigm in social sciences has been challenged several times. Homo economicus' rationality has been limited, then divided (into instrumental and axiological types) and finally deconstructed by cognitive psychology. Opening the black box of rationality, we wonder whether social sciences explanations can still refer to it.
After a presentation of the core of rationality and the difficulties it has been faced with, we propose to defend it through an instrumentalist approach that seems to be the only relevant one at cognitive sciences age. Deconstructing people reasons into inferences based on beliefs and desires, two different levels of explanation (rational and cognitive) can be distinguished. We show that rationalist explanations in social sciences need to be based on a multidisciplinary approach both cognitive psychological and social.
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Submitted on : Monday, March 30, 2009 - 3:52:57 PM
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Rodolphe Gouin. Is Rationality Still a Useful Concept for Social Sciences ? Rationality at Cognitive Age. International Conference on Social Sciences, Aug 2008, Izmir, Turkey. ⟨halshs-00371849⟩

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