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

Explaining norm-divergent behaviour: practical and epistemic contexts


Decision-theoretic models prescribe how an agent should behave in order to act rationally. But we know both from quotidian phenomena, as well as from the experimental study of behaviour, that human agents diverge from decision-theoretic norms across a wide range of contexts. Divergence from these norms can be more or less severe. Certain cases are…


What are elementary particles atoms of human behaviour?


At my institution, the Max Weber Centre, a young sociologist is sojourning as a Fellow, Gabriel Abend. He has extremely stimulating work on the concept of ‘decision’ in modern societies, social sciences and philosophy. In a recent paper, he gives us much food for thought, and I think that his views are very relevant for…

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final symposiumWitten

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

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Universität Witten/Herdecke

Team Witten

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