‘‘The whole breadth of reason’’: a step towards rethinking economics and rationality
| RIVISTA INTERNAZIONALE DI SCIENZE SOCIALI - 2012 - 3
The paper, which acts as an introduction to the Special Issue devoted to ‘‘The whole breadth of
reason’’, addresses the topic of economic rationality and discusses its strengths and weaknesses
within an interdisciplinary perspective highlighting the relational dimension of agents and actions.
Exiting the cage of homo economicus, we critically discuss both behavioral economics and neuro
economics approaches, showing that they are not immune from limitations due to both dubious
technical procedures and fragile epistemological foundations. When taking rational decision under
structural uncertainty, human beings rely on default practices which are inherently developed and
dynamically adapted within a community of concrete individuals; they also tend to provide persuasive
justification of one’s belief to other people. The paper concludes that rationality is a powerful
tool, within a relational, dynamic, realistic and ‘whole’ anthropology.