The Individual in Recent Economics: Internalist and Externalist Conceptions
Format of Original
History of Economic Thought and Policy
This paper examines conceptions of the individual in recent economics (including prospect theory, preference reversal/construction approaches, social preference theory, Bacharach's team view, Ross's neuroeconomics view, and the Sugden/Bruni civil happiness approach). The first three are classified as internalist; the last three as externalist. Internalist conceptions are argued to draw on the standard atomistic view of the individual in economics, itself seen to be circular. The externalist conceptions reviewed here are treated as relational views of individuals, are seen to individuate persons, but encounter problems in explaining individuals as enduring.