Final INSOSCI-Symposium:

When Policy Making meets Neuroscience and Social Science

12th-13th February 2019 @ Witten/Herdecke University, Germany
12th-13th February 2019
@Witten/Herdecke University, Germany


The Integration of Cross-Disciplinary Research in Neuroscience and Social Science

Our Project

INSOSCI – research on the foundations of theory integration between economics, psychology, and neuroscience Full Title: The Integration of Cross-Disciplinary Research in Neuroscience and Social Science – a Methodological Study on Economic Policies and the Neurosciences of Agency; funded by the European Commission with researchers at Witten/Herdecke University (Germany), Max-Weber-Kolleg Erfurt (Germany), University of Tampere (Finland), University of Applied Sciences Brandenburg (Germany), Catholic university of Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium), and University of Leuven (Belgium).

Our Vision

We want to clarify the methodological and philosophical foundations of a successful integration of economics, psychology, and the neurosciences, and we want to explore the implications of such an integration for policy making.

Our Mission

Economics is being revolutionized by newly emerging disciplines such as behavioural economics or neuroeconomics. This has also inspired new approaches to economic policy, e.g. ‘nudging’ citizens towards behaviour deemed to be in their best interest. However, at the same time these developments are being seriously criticised within established economics, often for good reasons. On closer scrutiny, methodological and philosophical issues loom large: What is a powerful economic explanation? How can economics be integrated with other sciences, such as psychology? Are there reliable empirical methods for testing hypotheses that are recognized across the various disciplines? And so forth.

There is great risk that well-intended public policies may do harm and fail if they are based on research that is methodologically flawed. Our project aims at deploying most advanced approaches in the philosophy of science in order to clear up these methodological debates and to develop a conceptual framework for integrating the neurosciences and economics, in particular. As a result, we hope to be able to draft conceptual maps of this complex territory that allow for identifying effective points and ways of policy interventions.

We are a team of philosophers, economists and neuroscientists from Belgium, Finland and Germany who work on three subprojects: financial markets and their regulation; consumer and welfare policies; free will and ethical implications. We actively pursue the cross-linkages across the sub-projects, such as conceptions of rationality of consumer behaviour in general and financial markets in particular, or the possible relevance of phenomena such as addiction across the different domains.

Recent Posts

Breaking news: Leading economist endorses the ‘social brain’ thesis!


Today, I continue with my posts on two contributions in the new issue of the Journal of Economic Literature. This is about the contribution by Carlos Alós-Ferrer, who emerged as one of the intellectual leaders in the field of economics, psychology and neuroscience in recent years. He is now professor at one of the central […]


Can we learn from neuroscience about ethics?


One of celebrated results from philosophical thinking about ethics is that we should not succumb to the ‘naturalistic fallacy’, i.e. infer ‘ought’ from ‘is’. Recently, it became fashionable to ground ethics on neurosciences. That is mostly justified by avoiding another fallacy, that one should avoid imposing ‘ought’ on actions which one cannot achieve for binding […]

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final symposiumWitten

11th-13th February 2019 (Mo-Wed)

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Universität Witten/Herdecke

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