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Gigerenzer’s Evolutionary Arguments against Rational Choice Theory: An Assessment

Armin W. Schulz
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 78, No. 5 (December 2011), pp. 1272-1282
DOI: 10.1086/662264
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/662264
Page Count: 11
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Gigerenzer’s Evolutionary Arguments against Rational Choice Theory: An Assessment
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Abstract

I critically discuss a recent innovation in the debate surrounding the plausibility of rational choice theory (RCT): the appeal to evolutionary theory. Specifically, I assess Gigerenzer and colleagues’ claim that considerations based on natural selection show that, instead of making decisions in a RCT-like way, we rely on ‘simple heuristics’. As I try to make clearer here, though, Gigerenzer and colleagues’ arguments are unconvincing: we lack the needed information about our past to determine whether the premises on which they are built are true—and, hence, we cannot tell whether they, in fact, speak against RCT.

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