Biology & Philosophy

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 617-635

First online:

On the neural enrichment of economic models: tractability, trade-offs and multiple levels of description

  • Roberto FumagalliAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, London School of Economics Email author 

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In the recent literature at the interface between economics, biology and neuroscience, several authors argue that by adopting an interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of decision making, economists will be able to construct predictively and explanatorily superior models. However, most economists remain quite reluctant to import biological or neural insights into their account of choice behaviour. In this paper, I reconstruct and critique one of the main arguments by means of which economists attempt to vindicate their conservative position. Furthermore, I develop an alternative defense of the thesis that economists justifiably rely on a methodologically distinctive approach to the modelling of choice behaviour.


Economic models Tractability Neuroeconomics Economic theory of choice Economic methodology