The Invisible Forces That Shape Interaction: A Formal Account of Institutions and Their Impact on Decision-Making.

01 October 2018 → 30 September 2022
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Biological and physiological psychology
    • General psychology
    • Other psychology and cognitive sciences
Project description

When we go to work, we don't have to decide each time whether we will drive on the right or on
the left because we have the rule of "driving on the right side of the road" in place. This rule helps
us coordinate and transforms a suboptimal situation into one with more desirable characteristics,
i.e. one where collisions are minimized. Rules such as these are known within the institutional
literature as "institutions". They are things such as laws and contracts, but also things like customs,
traditions, and rituals.
Institutions are studied by a variety of disciplines such as sociology, economy, law, political
science, and philosophy which has resulted in different ways in which institutions are
conceptualized. They are conceptualized as rules, but also as norms, and as equilibria. It is not
always clear how to keep these conceptualizations apart and within the institutional literature in
general, there is much confusion about what institutions are exactly and how they work.
My project consists in the development of formal logical tools (STIT logics) to make different
conceptualizations of institutions precise, thereby getting a better view on what these positions
entail and, generally, developing a better understanding of what institutions are and how they
shape interaction. By doing so, the project contributes to the development of both institutional
analysis and philosophical logic.