Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Brian Berkey


This philosophical paper asks whether the economic account of rationality captures the essence of practical rationality, or what is rational for human agents to do. The paper develops an argument to show that the economic account of rationality, or an understanding of agents as rational on the condition of preference axiom fulfillment, does not capture rationality adequately. The argument comprises overinclusiveness, underinclusiveness, and high context-dependency. The paper then compares the economic account with a philosophical alternative, which is shown to overcome the problem the economic account faces. The paper concludes with responses to counterarguments and the relevance of this topic to the greater policy context.


philosophy, rationality, economics, philosophy of economics, utility, utility maximization, policy, reasons, actions, choices



Date Posted: 24 May 2023


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