Matteo Motterlini

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Matteo Motterlini (born January 6, 1967) is an Italian philosopher of science, behavioral and neuroeconomist. He teaches at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University of Milan, Italy.

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Academic career and publications

Former Adviser for Social and Behavioral Sciences for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers in Italy (appointed 5 May 2016 - ended March 2018)

Motterlini holds graduate degrees in Logic & Scientific Method and Economics from The London School of Economics and Political Science. He held teaching and research positions at Carnegie Mellon University (Dept. of Social and Decision Sciences, 1999-2000) and University of California Los Angeles (Dept. of Psychology, 2011-2012).

He is perhaps best known for his contribution to the field of philosophy of science and the history of ideas, mainly to the issue of the rationality of science and the debate “for and against method” with respect to the philosophical ideas of Imre Lakatos and Paul K. Feyerabend. [1]

Based on the original material in the Lakatos Archive, he edited For and Against Method (1999, University of Chicago Press), including Lakatos's Lectures on Scientific Method and the Lakatos-Feyerabend Correspondence. [2] [3]

He investigates the neurological basis of human irrationality. His research focuses on the neural correlations of financial decision making, with a special reference to the role of emotions, regret, [4] social learning [5] and loss aversion. [6]

He is director of the Center for Experimental and Applied Epistemology (CRESA) where he and his team design and the test ways in which neuro-behavioral economics findings may inform more effective evidence-based public policy. [7]

He is also a prolific writer for general public and contributes regularly to several Italian newspapers, notably Il Corriere della sera and Il Sole 24 Ore. His pop-science books Economia emotiva (Emotional Economics) (2006, Rizzoli) and Trappole mentali (Mental Traps) (2008, Rizzoli) are worldwide best sellers with translations into Spanish, Korean, Japanese and Chinese. He was Scientific Advisor of AC Milan football club for six seasons from 2004 to 2010.

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In the philosophy of science, a theory is falsifiable if it is contradicted by an observation that is logically possible—i.e., expressible in the language of the theory, which must have a conventional empirical interpretation. Thus there must exist a state of affairs that obtains or not and can be used as a scientific evidence against the theory, in particular, it must be observable with existing technologies. For example, "All swans are white" is falsifiable, because "Here is a black swan" contradicts it. To make falsifiability more intuitive, one can assume that the state of affairs is allowed by some other law than the one that is falsified. For example, Newton's law of gravitation is also falsifiable—it is falsified by "The brick fell upwards when released", which is a state of affairs that can be observed if some hidden force other than gravity acts on the brick. On the other hand, "All men are mortal" is not falsifiable, because, unlike a swan being black, a man being immortal is not an inter-subjective property—there is no shared procedure to systematically conclude to immortality.

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Imre Lakatos Hungarian philosopher of mathematics and science

Imre Lakatos was a Hungarian philosopher of mathematics and science, known for his thesis of the fallibility of mathematics and its "methodology of proofs and refutations" in its pre-axiomatic stages of development, and also for introducing the concept of the "research programme" in his methodology of scientific research programmes.

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Loss aversion

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References

2019. “Testing donation menus: on charitable giving for cancer research – evidence from a natural field experiment ” (con Marianna Baggio), Behavioural Public Policy, Page 1 of 22, Cambridge University Press doi:10.1017/bpp.2019.13