Rational-choice hermeneutics

Roger Koppl, Douglas Glen Whitman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Rational choice and hermeneutics seem at odds, but the tension can be fruitfully resolved. The conflict between them closely mirrors the earlier conflict between historicism and positivism. In inter-war Vienna, an influential group of social scientists tried to combine the best elements of both approaches. Rational choice was united with Verstehen and the method of ideal types, as evidenced by the works of Lionel Robbins and Alfred Schutz, among others. Although the two methodologies have again diverged, it is possible to merge them. Drawing on the insights of Alfred Schutz, this article constructs a framework for modern rational-choice hermeneutics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-317
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Hermeneutics
  • Ideal types
  • Mathematical optimization problem
  • Methodology
  • Rational-choice
  • Verstehen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Rational-choice hermeneutics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this