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Comparative Decision Making$
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Thomas R. Zentall and Philip H. Crowley

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199856800

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199856800.001.0001

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Why Making a Decision Involves More Than Decision Making

Why Making a Decision Involves More Than Decision Making

Past, Present, and Future in Human Action

(p.45) Chapter 3 Why Making a Decision Involves More Than Decision Making
Comparative Decision Making

Bertram C. Bruce

Oxford University Press

Until recent decades, decision making was securely within the exclusive province of human behavior. This long intellectual tradition began with Aristotle, but the assumption of human uniqueness in this area, as in many others, is giving ground to other philosophical and scientific perspectives. Two divergent views of decision making exist: the Aristotelian view (“punctuation”) and a broader view (“continuity”), aimed at understanding the behavior of a much more diverse array of systems. Contrasting these raises many fundamental questions of relevance to comparative decision making, such as who the decision maker is and what it means to make a decision. Claims for human uniqueness are linked to the influence of personal and cultural history, social environment and communication, and the construction of the environments within which decisions are made. But this volume demonstrates the importance and usefulness of the broader view of decision making, which, like revealed preferences in microeconomics, focuses more on a system’s behavior than its intent.

Keywords:   punctuation, continuity, decision makers, humna uniqueness, cultural history, social environment, communication

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