The Mind under the Axioms

The Mind under the Axioms

Decision-Theory Beyond Revealed Preferences

1st Edition - September 18, 2019

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  • Author: Sacha Bourgeouis-Gironde
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128151310
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128151327

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The Mind under the Axioms reviews two basic ingredients of our understanding of human decisions – conative aspects (preferences) and cognitive aspects (beliefs). These ingredients are axiomatized in modern decision theory in the view to obtain a formally and empirically tractable representation of the decision-maker. The main issue developed in this book is the connection between realistic and testable psychological features and the descriptive component of abstract axioms of rationality. It addresses three main topics for which the interaction between axiomatization and psychology leads to potential new developments in experimental decision-theory and puts strictures on the standard revealed preference methodology prevailing in that field. The possibility of a cardinal representation of preferences is discussed. Different ways of accounting for incomplete preferences, and in which sense, are analysed. Finally, the conditions of separability between preferences and beliefs, such as prescribed by axioms of state-independence, are submitted to actual and potential tests. The book offers a bridge between the disciplines of decision-theory, psychology, and neuroeconomics. It is thus relevant for those, in psychology and cognitive sciences, who are sometimes put off by the high degree of formalism and abstraction in decision-theory, that seems to lie beyond the reach of psychological realism. It also aims to convince those in decision-theory for whom psychological realism and empirical testability should not constrain the modelling enterprise that conceptual clarification can come from attempted experimentation.

Key Features

  • Addresses open and evolving theoretical issues in decision-theory, especially from experimental perspectives
  • Helps researchers understand the psychological and neuroscientific mechanisms for decision-making
  • Considers how preferences shape beliefs and how beliefs shape preferences
  • Uncovers the very formal and abstract psychological and behavioral implications that are actually made in contemporary decision-theory


Graduate students and 1st year PhDs in economics, particularly those enrolled in courses in theoretical economics / decision-theory / behavioural economics / experimental economics. Graduate students in psychology, cognitive sciences programmes, decision neurosciences

Table of Contents

  • 1. Cardinalism
    2. Incompleteness
    3. State-dependence
    4. A Conclusive Remark: Decision Theory and the Transistion from the Unconscious to the Conscious

Product details

  • No. of pages: 216
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2019
  • Published: September 18, 2019
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128151310
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128151327

About the Author

Sacha Bourgeouis-Gironde

Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde is Professor of Economics at Université Paris 2. He is an experimental economist working on the cognitive foundations of decision-theory. Before his career in economic sciences, he has been a full professor of philosophy and continues to be a researcher in cognitive sciences at Ecole Normale Supérieure, in Paris. The leading thread of his work is to spell out and model minimal cognitive conditions which are compatible with decision-making in complex human economic environments.

Affiliations and Expertise

Université Paris 2 - Lemma, Ecole Normale Supérieure - Institut Jean-Nicod

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