A Critical Realist Perspective on Decisions Involving Risk and Uncertainty
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The relevance to decision research of recent advances in the philosophy of social science is considered. The critical realism of Roy Bhaskar argues for the identification of contextually contingent explanatory mechanisms at multiple levels based on concepts grounded in intersubjectively shared reality. Using examples from the author’s and other’s research on the psychology of decisions involving risk and uncertainty, this paper explores the implications of taking a critical realist approach. It is argued that critical realism has the potential to advance and unify disparate experimental and naturalistic lines of research. Furthermore, a diverse range of experimental, process-tracing and observational methods can play important complementary roles in developing fruitful critical realist explanations of decisions involving risk and uncertainty.
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