Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Rationality and Beyond: A Critique of the Nature and Task of Economics

Li, Cheng (2014): Rationality and Beyond: A Critique of the Nature and Task of Economics.

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Abstract

This paper shows that the means-end rationality principle, as an ‘ultimate given’ of economics, delimits the faculty of economists to observe, describe and understand the manifold human behavior. Given such epistemological limitations, as a descriptive science, the main task of economics is to incorporate appropriate empirical content into the a priori analytical framework with the aim of better explaining and predicting some aspect of human behavior. As a normative science, economists should draw on their persuasion and communication skills whereby changing the means and end of the decision makers to the extent that the real world decision-making can be improved.

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