Professor Christian List (pictured), professor of political science and philosophy in the departments of Government and Philosophy at LSE, has been awarded a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship from October 2013 to September 2016.
The Leverhulme Trust makes these awards to 'enable well-established and distinguished researchers in the disciplines of the Humanities and Social Sciences to devote themselves to a single research project of outstanding originality and significance'.
Professor List's project is titled Reasons, Decisions, and Intentional Agency. The standard models of individual choice typically used in economics and the social sciences, often called 'rational choice theory', provide at most a simplistic account of human agency and decision making. The aim of Professor List's research, partly in collaboration with other scholars, is to develop a new approach to modelling intentional agency which improves upon standard rational-choice-theoretic models, incorporates insights from psychology and the philosophy of mind, is widely applicable, and illuminates the relationship between 'reasons for action' and 'rational decisions', which is not adequately captured by standard rational choice theory.
Professor List will give particular attention to the philosophical question of how human intentional agency, with its apparent free will, is possible in the first place, given that the world seems to be fundamentally made up of non-intentional physical matter, governed by the laws of physics.