Review of Andrew M. Yuengert’s Approximating prudence: Aristotelian practical wisdom and economic models of choice.

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Review of Andrew M. Yuengert’s Approximating prudence: Aristotelian practical wisdom and economic models of choice.

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Title: Review of Andrew M. Yuengert’s Approximating prudence: Aristotelian practical wisdom and economic models of choice.
Author: Crespo, Ricardo
Abstract: Although it may sound paradoxical, this is a positive book about the limitations of economics. All sciences necessarily simplify. Sciences try to think deeply about their subjects, and to think we need to put away the details and concentrate on the essence of our subject. However, we do not tend to think about what we have put away. This is important because it can happen that, forced by the requirements of tractability, we put away relevant ‘details’. Yuengert shows in this book that economic modeling undertakes only a partial analysis of economic action, because it ‘puts away’ interesting features of its subject that deserve to be taken into account. He proposes adopting the Aristotelian account of human action—more specifically, of practical wisdom—as the benchmark against which to consider economic modeling. He maintains that “economics can learn much about its limits from Aristotle, who describes aspects of choice behavior that cannot be precisely modeled” (p. 3). Thus, the aim of the book is to determine what aspects of human behavior cannot be captured by the economists’ models. In this task, Yuengert has the advantage of being a wellinformed and up to date academic economist: an economist talking to economists. He knows the current literature on economics’ new perspectives, from behavioral economics to neuro-economics to economic sociology. And he provides technical examples familiar to economists. Yuengert has also has the advantage of having studied philosophy with the aim of enlightening economics. Thus he is able in this book to present philosophical concepts and arguments in a way that economists can appreciate.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/360
Date: 2013


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