Personal Identity and Standard Economic Theory
Format of Original
Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Journal of Economic Methodology
This paper investigates the topic of personal identity in standard neoclassical theory. It looks first at the traditional utility theory of maximizing consumers and then at the extension of that analysis in the time-allocation-household-production model to see how relatively settled ontological commitments in the neoclassical research program undergo modification with its development. David Hume's skeptical treatment of personal identity is employed to assess the traditional view. The time-allocation model is shown to escape some of Hume's problems, but encounters difficulties of its own. Concluding remarks emphasize the importance of ontological analysis in economics, and suggest that identity issues underlie the investigation of causality in that analysis.