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The Bounds of ReasonGame Theory and the Unification of the Behavioral Sciences$
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Herbert Gintis

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691160849

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691160849.001.0001

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The Unification of the Behavioral Sciences

The Unification of the Behavioral Sciences

(p.194) 11 The Unification of the Behavioral Sciences
The Bounds of Reason

Herbert Gintis

Princeton University Press

The behavioral sciences include economics, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and political science, as well as biology insofar as it deals with animal and human behavior. These disciplines have distinct research foci, but they include four conflicting models of decision making and strategic interaction, as determined by what is taught in the graduate curriculum and what is accepted in journal articles without reviewer objection. The four are the psychological, the sociological, the biological, and the economic. These four models are not only different, but are also incompatible. That is, each makes assertions concerning choice behavior that are denied by the others. This means, of course, that at least three of the four are certainly incorrect. This chapter argues that in fact all four are flawed but can be modified to produce a unified framework for modeling choice and strategic interaction for all of the behavioral sciences. The framework for unification includes five conceptual units: (a) gene-culture coevolution; (b) the sociopsychological theory of norms; (c) game theory, (d) the rational actor model; and (e) complexity theory.

Keywords:   behavioral science, gene-culture coevolution, sociopsychological theory of norms, game theory, rational actor model, complexity theory

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