Economics is nowadays most often defined by the framework in which it offers explanations, not by a list of topics that it deals with. Economic explanation consists in the reduction of the phenomena under investigation to the interaction of decision-making individuals. This conception, often dubbed “economic imperialism” is a frequent target of criticism. The present article shows that the problem is not necessarily the ambition of economists to explain the results of all types of decision-making, but rather one of the impoverished concept of decision-making that economists employ. An analytical division of decision-making is offered, distinguishing between the level of the structuring of a problem and the level of solving a problem, enabling us to clearly determine the contribution of economics and the limits of its application. I argue that economics, operating only at the second level of decision-making, may make a basic contribution to the empirical explanation of social phenomena, but does not provide an explanation itself. Explanation must take an „historical“ form and it must include possible changes in the interpretation of the choice problem the individuals under scrutiny face. My conclusion is then applied to the question of whom economic explanation is intended for, what it is meant to serve, and of whether
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