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Abstract

Does Rational Choice Theory (RCT) have something important to contribute to the humanities? Jon Elster and others answer affirmatively, arguing that RCT is a powerful tool that will lend clarity and rigor to work in the humanities just as it (presumably) has in economics. This essay examines the disciplinary values according to which the application of RCT in economics has been judged a "success," and suggests that this value system does not deserve general approbation. Richness and realism must be retained as important values alongside precision and elegance, if anti-scientific dogmatism and absurd conclusions are to be avoided.

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