Evolutionary Economics and Biological Complexity

Chapter
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Philosophy book series (BRIEFSPHILOSOPH)

Abstract

According to some theorists, economic phenomena that determine wealth are prioritized in research. This “substantial” definition is often contrasted with the “formal” definition by Lionel Robbins (1935), stating that economic science owes its unity and specificity to the fact that it studies contradictory choices. The agent has limited resources to distribute between different objectives, and he must choose to sacrifice some objectives for the benefit of others. This definition, by intrinsically linking economics to the theory of choice, has led economics, as a science, to focus on human behavior as a relationship between ends and means. In other words, economics is the science of choosing the most advantageous option among several alternatives, depending on one’s context and needs. The aim is therefore to make the most favorable long-term choice. However, in everyday life, many possibilities arise when we make an important decision; thus, the consequences of our choices are not clearly predictable or known a priori. In this complex and uncertain environment, our choices have consequences that become more or less attractive over time. Experience allows an agent to accumulate knowledge about the consequences of different choices and to develop preferences for some. If an agent understands the consequences associated with each choice, uncertainty decreases, and decisions are driven by the agent’s preference or by risk aversion.

Keywords

Natural Selection Mechanistic Explanation Propositional Attitude Complex Adaptive System Propositional Knowledge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cognitive SciencesUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly

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