Islamic Spectral Rationality versus Rational Choice Theory in Conventional Economics

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Parviz Davoudi / Professor at the Faculty of Economic & Political Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University

Mohammad Javad Tavakkoli / Assistant Professor at IKI            

Mohammad Sa’eed Panahi Boroujerdi / Ph.D. in Philosophy of Islamic Economics, IKI          

Received: 2017/08/31 - Accepted: 2018/01/27                                   


Rational choice theory, with two main approaches of pursuing personal gain and internal consistency of choices, is one of the most basic assumptions of conventional economics, and has consistently been criticized by conventional and Muslim economists. In order to introduce a suitable alternative to this theory, conventional and Islamic economists have come up with a new definition of economic rationality. Using the "descriptive-analytical" research method, the present study introduces the theory of "Islamic spectral rationality ". Based on the hypothesis of the paper, rationality in the Islamic approach has a spectral meaning both in normative and affirmative aspects. Based on the Islamic-spectral rationality approach, from a normative point of view, rational choice is a choice with four components: adherence to divine economic duties, comprehensive utilitarianism, comprehensive examination and gathering certain and correct information. From an affirmative approach, this theory also suggests the analogicity of individuals’ rationality. Accordingly, a wise Muslim, when confronted with various options, may have choices of varying degrees of rationality, although some of these choices are considered more rational than other choices.

Key words: Islamic spectral rationality, Utilitarianism, Rational choice theory, Rational choice components, Islamic economics.

JEL classification: D03, B00, P4.

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