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The ‘Limits of Pure Reason’ in Decision-Making: Dupré’s and Damasio’s Basic Theses

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Part of the Studies in Computational Intelligence book series (SCI,volume 990)

Abstract

The paper firstly outlines the theoretical and methodological framework of the “theory of rational choice”, as it has emerged in various cognitive and social sciences. Above all, in economics, it has become the dominant paradigm, attracting various criticisms. In particular, we will address two authors, John Dupré, philosopher of science, and Antonio Damasio, neuroscientist. Albeit from different perspectives, both scholars question the assumption of this theory, according to which man tends to make his own decisions in a purely rational way, aiming selfishly to achieve the maximum usefulness. Conversely, they put forward the hypothesis, supported by the studies of the two authors, that “pure reason” in itself is insufficient to make entirely rational decisions. Only the involvement of the bodily and emotional sphere and of social principles allows man to make rational, thoughtful choices, as Damasio’s clinical cases show. This corrective, in our opinion, is part of the wider movement – already experimented in the physical, biological, medical, and didactic fields during the 20th century – tending to overcome the Cartesian subject/object separation, introducing the variable subject into the discipline.

Keywords

  • Decision-making
  • John Dupré
  • Antonio Damasio
  • Introduction of the subject
  • Cartesian dualism

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Correspondence to Oreste Tolone .

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Tolone, O. (2021). The ‘Limits of Pure Reason’ in Decision-Making: Dupré’s and Damasio’s Basic Theses. In: Bucciarelli, E., Chen, SH., Corchado, J.M., Parra D., J. (eds) Decision Economics: Minds, Machines, and their Society. DECON 2020. Studies in Computational Intelligence, vol 990. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-75583-6_3

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