Saturday, July 12, 2008

"Neuroeconomics: Hype or Hope?," Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, November 20–22, 2008.

After having operated as a separate science for decades, economics is now opening up its boundaries to other disciplines. One such discipline is cognitive neuroscience. The nascent field of neuroeconomics is a booming business. Worldwide, more than a dozen of new Centers for Neuroeconomics Studies equipped with high tech brain scanners have been founded within the past few years. Several papers on neuroeconomics already found their way into prestigious academic journals such as Science and Nature. At the same time neuroeconomics meets resistance among economists (as perhaps best expressed in Gul and Pesendorfer's (2008) "The Case for Mindless Economics"). Many economists and methodologists are skeptical about the contribution neuroeconomics can make to economics. They question the relevance of data about decision-making processes at the neural level for addressing the sorts of questions economics is traditionally interested in.Is neuroeconomics a flimsy and fleeting hype in economics that is overselling itself? Or is neuroeconomics here to stay, offering the hope that economics will finally be transformed into a modern science? Topics: The Conference aims to offer a platform for discussing methodological and philosophical issues raised by the advent of neuroeconomics. More specifically, we invite paper submissions on the following topics: - What standards of scientific respectability and progress are implied (or invoked) in the claim that neuroeconomics will finally move economics into its proper standing of a modern science? - What consequences does neuroeconomics have for the subject matter, scope and method of economics? - How do the different disciplines of economics and of cognitive neuroscience relate to each other in neuroeconomics? Does the relationship between economics on the one hand and cognitive (neuro)science on the other need to be redefined? - Do we first need to know how different levels of analysis (e.g. of observable choice behavior, of its underlying computational algorithms and of the neural "hardware" in which they are implemented) relate to each other before we can tell how neuroeconomic evidence and findings bear on economics? If so, what levels are at stake and how are they related? - What light can insights from contemporary philosophy of mind shed on the topics raised here? - How is neural activity in people related to the various institutions in which they function? How can an improved understanding of neural processes inform institutional analysis? - What is the role and place of evolutionary theory in neuroeconomics Keynote Speakers: • Ariel Rubinstein (Tel Aviv University, New York University) • Paul J. Zak (Claremont Graduate University) • Don Ross (University of Alabama Birmingham, University of Cape Town) • John Davis (University of Amsterdam, Marquette University) • Uskali Mäki (University of Helsinki) • Jack Vromen (Erasmus University Rotterdam) • Francesco Guala (University of Exeter, San Raffaele University) Further information is here:

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