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  1. Anna Alexandrova & Robert Northcott (2013). It's Just a Feeling: Why Economic Models Do Not Explain. Journal of Economic Methodology 20 (3):262 - 267.
    Julian Reiss correctly identified a trilemma about economic models: we cannot maintain that they are false, but nevertheless explain and that only true accounts explain. In this reply we give reasons to reject the second premise ? that economic models explain. Intuitions to the contrary should be distrusted.
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  2. Paul Anand (2003). Does Economic Theory Need More Evidence? A Balancing of Arguments. Journal of Economic Methodology 10 (4):441-463.
    This article seeks to provide a characterization of theory prevalent in economics and found in many areas of social and natural science, particularly those that make increasing use of rational choice perspectives. Four kinds of theoretical project are identified in which empirical evidence plays a relatively small role in theory acceptance. The paper associates the minor role of evidence in theory formation and acceptance to a need to answer counterfactual questions and argues that is not necessarily incompatible with accounts of (...)
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  3. H. W. Arndt (1944). The Ideal Foundations of Economic Thought: Three Essays on the Philosophy of Economics. By W. Stark. International Library of Sociology and Social Reconstruction. (Kegan Paul. 1943.). [REVIEW] Philosophy 19 (73):188.
  4. Roger E. Backhouse (2012). Economics is a Serious and Difficult Subject. Journal of Economic Methodology 19 (3):231-241.
    This paper argues that by focusing on simple problems that can be resolved by the use of simple economic logic, usually involving the assumption that agents are rational, the economics-as-fun literature inevitably distracts from more difficult problems that are harder to solve and which may need to be tackled in different ways and may create a bias towards solutions that rely on the market.
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  5. Roger E. Backhouse (1997). An 'Inexact' Philosophy of Economics? Economics and Philosophy 13 (01):25-.
  6. Gregor Betz (2006). Prediction or Prophecy? The Boundaries of Economic Foreknowledge and Their Socio-Political Consequences. DUV.
    Gregor Betz explores the following questions: Where are the limits of economics, in particular the limits of economic foreknowledge? Are macroeconomic forecasts credible predictions or mere prophecies and what would this imply for the way economic policy decisions are taken? Is rational economic decision making possible without forecasting at all?
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  7. Lawrence A. Boland (2003). Methodological Criticismvs. Ideology and Hypocrisy. Journal of Economic Methodology 10 (4):521-526.
    Milton Friedman's famous methodology essay is one of the most cited in economics literature. There was a time when it was usually cited as a prime example of positivist methodology. But since the publication of my 1979 critique of the critics of his essay, almost everyone now recognizes his essay as a prime example of what I called instrumentalism. Most economists, who when questioned about their views of methodology, will agree with Friedman's instrumentalism but only if Friedman's name is not (...)
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  8. Ivan A. Boldyrev (2011). Economic Methodology: Understanding Economics as a Science. Journal of Economic Methodology 18 (4):427-432.
  9. Marcel Boumans & Mary S. Morgan (2001). Ceteris Paribus Conditions: Materiality and the Application of Economic Theories. Journal of Economic Methodology 8 (1):11-26.
  10. Krzysztof Brzechczyn (ed.) (2009). Idealization Xiii: Modeling in History. Rodopi.
    The book reveals different dimensions of modeling in the historical sciences. Papers collected in the first part (Ontology of the Historical Process) consider different models of historical reality and discuss their status. The second part (Modeling in the Methodology of History) presents various forms of idealization in historiographic research. The papers in the third part (Modeling in the Research Practice) present various models of past reality (e.g. of Poland, Central Europe and the general history of the feudal system) put forward (...)
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  11. James M. Buchanan (2001). Game Theory, Mathematics, and Economics. Journal of Economic Methodology 8 (1):27-32.
  12. Peter Carruthers (2002). Human Nature and the Limits of Science, John Dupré. Clarendon Press, 2001, 211 Pages. [REVIEW] Economics and Philosophy 18 (2):351-385.
  13. Hsiang‐Ke Chao (2007). A Structure of the Consumption Function. Journal of Economic Methodology 14 (2):227-248.
    It is claimed in the structural realism in philosophy of science that scientists aim to preserve the true structure, represented by the equations in their models. We reinterpret structural realism as a doctrine involving representation. Proving the existence of a representation theorem secures the problem of lacking independent criteria for identification between structure and non?structure. This paper argues that a similar realist view of structure can be found in the theory of consumption in which the Fisherian framework of intertemporal choices (...)
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  14. Szu-Ting Chen (2011). Imagining the Imaginable: A Reinterpretation of the Function of Economists' Concern About Structural Isomorphism in Economic Theorizing. Journal of Economic Methodology 18 (01):53-78.
    By using a metatheoretical interpretation of the development of international trade theory as an example, I illustrate that, as is manifested in the practices of economic theorization, a theoretical representation can be decomposed into two component representations: a formal representation and a causal narrative representation. I further maintain that, with respect to both component representations, the concern of isomorphism is important in that it is the guiding idea that underlies economists' practice of identifying both an adequate formal model and a (...)
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  15. François Claveau (2011). Evidential Variety as a Source of Credibility for Causal Inference: Beyond Sharp Designs and Structural Models. Journal of Economic Methodology 18 (3):233-253.
    There is an ongoing debate in economics between the design-based approach and the structural approach. The main locus of contention regards how best to pursue the quest for credible causal inference. Each approach emphasizes one element ? sharp study designs versus structural models ? but these elements have well-known limitations. This paper investigates where a researcher might look for credibility when, for the causal question under study, these limitations are binding. It argues that seeking variety of evidence ? understood specifically (...)
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  16. Robin Cubitt (2005). Experiments and the Domain of Economic Theory. Journal of Economic Methodology 12 (2):197-210.
    This paper distinguishes the base domain of an economic theory (in which predictions are relatively unambiguous) from, respectively, the domains of intended application and of legitimate testing; it argues that the domain of legitimate testing is not generally restricted to that of intended application; and discusses the obligations on researchers imposed by a position that presumes experimental environments in the base domain of a theory to provide legitimate test, unless there is compelling reason to expect behaviour in the domain of (...)
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  17. Robin P. Cubitt, Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden (2001). Discovered Preferences and the Experimental Evidence of Violations of Expected Utility Theory. Journal of Economic Methodology 8 (3):385-414.
    The discovered preference hypothesis appears to insulate expected utility theory (EU) from disconfirming experimental evidence. It asserts that individuals have coherent underlying preferences, which experiments may not reveal unless subjects have adequate opportunities and incentives to discover which actions best satisfy their preferences. We identify the confounding effects to be expected in experiments, were that hypothesis true, and consider how they might be controlled for. We argue for a design in which each subject faces just one distinct choice task for (...)
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  18. Björn Frank (2012). Economic Page Turners. Journal of Economic Methodology 19 (3):317-327.
    Economic page turners like Freakonomics are well written and there is much to be learned from them ? not only about economics, but also about writing techniques. Their authors know how to build up suspense, i.e., they make readers want to know what comes. An uncountable number of pages in books and magazines are filled with advice on writing reportages or suspense novels. While many of the tips are specific to the respective genres, some carry over to economic page turners (...)
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  19. Till Grüne-Yanoff (2013). Genuineness Resolved: A Reply to Reiss' Purported Paradox. Journal of Economic Methodology 20 (3):255 - 261.
    This response to Reiss ?explanatory paradox? argues that some economic models might be true, and that many economic models are not intended for providing how-actually explanations, but rather how-possibly explanations. Therefore, two assumptions of Reiss? paradox are not true, and the paradox disappears.
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  20. Till Grüne‐Yanoff & Paul Schweinzer (2008). The Roles of Stories in Applying Game Theory. Journal of Economic Methodology 15 (2):131-146.
    Game?theoretic models consist of a formal game structure and an informal model narrative or story. When game theory is employed to model economic situations, the stories play a central role in interpreting, constructing and solving game structures. We analyse the architecture of game theory and distinguish between game models and the theory proper. We present the different functions of the model narrative in the application of game models to economic situations. In particular, we show how model narratives support the choice (...)
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  21. Francesco Guala (2005). Economics in the Lab: Completeness Vs. Testability. Journal of Economic Methodology 12 (2):185-196.
    Two important arguments in the methodological literature on experimental economics rely on the specification of a domain for economic theory. The first one is used by some experimenters in their skirmishes with economic theorists, and moves from the assumption that theories have (or ought to have) their domain of application written in their assumptions. The other one is used to play down the relevance of certain unwelcome experimental results, and moves from the symmetric assumption that the domain of economic theory (...)
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  22. Francesco Guala (2004). Fact and Fiction in Economics: Models, Realism and Social Construction, Edited by Uskali MÄKI. Cambridge University Press, 2002, VII + 384 Pages. [REVIEW] Economics and Philosophy 20 (1):217-223.
  23. Frank Hahn (1996). Rerum Cognoscere Causas. Economics and Philosophy 12 (02):183-.
  24. D. Wade Hands (2013). Introduction to Symposium on the Explanation Paradox. Journal of Economic Methodology 20 (3):235 - 236.
  25. Daniel M. Hausman (2013). Paradox Postponed. Journal of Economic Methodology 20 (3):250 - 254.
    This comment argues that there is an explanation paradox in economics, as Julian Reiss maintains, only if models in economics succeed in explaining even though they are not approximately true, fail to identify the causes of what they purport to explain, and misdescribe the mechanism by which the causes lead to the effects to be explained. Reiss provides no reason to believe that models that do not describe the causes and mechanisms at work are nevertheless explanatory.
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  26. Daniel M. Hausman (1997). Theory Appraisal in Neoclassical Economics. Journal of Economic Methodology 4 (2):289-296.
    After answering relatively minor criticisms of The Inexact and Separate Science of Economics by Geert Reuten and Uskali Mäki, this essay grants their main charge that I could not sensibly defend the way economists assess theories while at the same time criticizing their insistence that economic theories be unified and of maximal scope. I should have said that economists are mistaken in their methods of assessment because they focus on the wrong data and because they unjustifiably insist that only unified (...)
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  27. Frank Hindriks (2008). False Models as Explanatory Engines. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 38 (3):334-360.
    Many models in economics are very unrealistic. At the same time, economists put a lot of effort into making their models more realistic. I argue that in many cases, including the Modigliani-Miller irrelevance theorem investigated in this paper, the purpose of this process of concretization is explanatory. When evaluated in combination with their assumptions, a highly unrealistic model may well be true. The purpose of relaxing an unrealistic assumption, then, need not be to move from a false model to a (...)
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  28. Frank A. Hindriks (2006). Tractability Assumptions and the Musgrave–Mäki Typology. Journal of Economic Methodology 13 (4):401-423.
    Musgrave (1981) proposed a typology of assumptions, developed further by Mäki (2000), to defend the idea that the truth of assumptions is often important when evaluating economic theories against those economists who consider only predictive success to be relevant for this purpose. In this paper I propose a new framework for this typology that sheds further light on the issue. The framework consists of a distinction between first?order assumptions that state the absence or lack of effect of some factor F, (...)
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  29. Frank A. Hindriks (2005). Unobservability, Tractability and the Battle of Assumptions. Journal of Economic Methodology 12 (3):383-406.
    Economic models often include unrealistic assumptions. This does not mean, however, that economists lack a concern for the truth of their assumptions. Unrealistic assumptions are frequently imposed because the effects are taken to be negligible or because the problem at hand is intractable without them. Using the Musgrave?Mäki typology as the point of departure, these claims are defended with respect to theories proposed by Solow, Hall and Roeger concerning productivity growth and the mark?up. Since they are unobservable, their values need (...)
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  30. Geoffrey M. Hodgson (2007). Meanings of Methodological Individualism. Journal of Economic Methodology 14 (2):211-226.
    Advocacy of ?methodological individualism? is widespread, especially among economists. However, the term is rarely defined with adequate precision and some crucial ambiguities are explored in this article. Among these is the commonplace ambivalence over whether explanations should be in terms of individuals alone, or in terms of individuals plus relations between them. It is shown that a great deal hinges on this subtle and often overlooked distinction in explanantia. In particular, explanations in terms of individuals alone have never, as yet, (...)
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  31. Elias L. Khalil (1997). Economics, Biology, and Naturalism: Three Problems Concerning the Question of Individuality. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 12 (2):185-206.
    The paper examines the ramifications of naturalism with regard to the question of individuality in economics and biology. Economic theory has to deal with whether households, firms, and states are individuals or are mere entities such as clubs, networks, and coalitions. Biological theory has to deal with the same question with regard to cells, organisms, family packs, and colonies. To wit, the question of individuality in both disciplines involves three separate problems: the metaphysical, phenomenist, and ontological. The metaphysical problem is (...)
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  32. J. Kuorikoski, A. Lehtinen & C. Marchionni (2010). Economic Modelling as Robustness Analysis. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (3):541-567.
    We claim that the process of theoretical model refinement in economics is best characterised as robustness analysis: the systematic examination of the robustness of modelling results with respect to particular modelling assumptions. We argue that this practise has epistemic value by extending William Wimsatt's account of robustness analysis as triangulation via independent means of determination. For economists robustness analysis is a crucial methodological strategy because their models are often based on idealisations and abstractions, and it is usually difficult to tell (...)
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  33. Jaakko Kuorikoski, Aki Lehtinen & Caterina Marchionni, Economics as Robustness Analysis.
    All economic models involve abstractions and idealisations. Economic theory itself does not tell which idealizations are truly fatal or harmful for the result and which are not. This is why much of what is seen as theoretical contribution in economics is constituted by deriving familiar results from different modelling assumptions. If a modelling result is robust with respect to particular modelling assumptions, the empirical falsity of these particular assumptions does not provide grounds for criticizing the result. In this paper we (...)
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  34. Aki Lehtinen (2013). Three Kinds of 'as-If' Claims. Journal of Economic Methodology 20 (2):184-205.
    As-if locutions are used (a) in order to indicate that an inaccurate or unrealistic assumption is being made because some inaccuracy or unrealisticness is negligible. This kind of claim has two sub-cases. (a1) The as-if locution is used to indicate that the as-if claim in itself is inaccurate and that its inaccuracy does not matter for the purposes of the investigation. (a2) It is used to indicate that claims are made without regard to the causal factors that are assumed to (...)
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  35. Robert J. Leonard (1993). The Invisible Hand, Economic Equilibrium in the History of Science, Bruna Ingrao and Giorgio Israel. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991, 491 Pages. [REVIEW] Economics and Philosophy 9 (01):178-.
  36. Chee Kian Leong (2009). The Cult of Statistical Significance: How the Standard Error Costs Us Jobs, Justice, and Lives. Journal of Economic Methodology 16 (4):431-434.
  37. Uskali Mäki (2013). On a Paradox of Truth, or How Not to Obscure the Issue of Whether Explanatory Models Can Be True. Journal of Economic Methodology 20 (3):268 - 279.
    It is argued that Reiss (2012) fails to refute attempts to resolve the paradox of false explanatory models. His article fails to provide an articulate conception of what exactly the presumed paradox is, it suffers from uncontrolled ambiguities and inconsistencies, and it fails to adequately address accounts of economic models that might contribute to reconciling their apparent falsehood and explanatoriness. Some details in my account of how apparently false models may explain are clarified.
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  38. Uskali Mäki (2011). The Truth of False Idealizations in Modeling. In Paul Humphreys & Cyrille Imbert (eds.), Models, Simulations, and Representations. Routledge.
    Modeling involves the use of false idealizations, yet there is typically a belief or hope that modeling somehow manages to deliver true information about the world. The paper discusses one possible way of reconciling truth and falsehood in modeling. The key trick is to relocate truth claims by reinterpreting an apparently false idealizing assumption in order to make clear what possibly true assertion is intended when using it. These include interpretations in terms of negligibility, applicability, tractability, early-step, and more. Elaborations (...)
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  39. Caterina Marchionni (2013). Playing with Networks: How Economists Explain. [REVIEW] European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (3):331-352.
    Network theory is applied across the sciences to study phenomena as diverse as the spread of SARS, the topology of the cell, the structure of the Internet and job search behaviour. Underlying the study of networks is graph theory. Whether the graph represents a network of neurons, cells, friends or firms, it displays features that exclusively depend on the mathematical properties of the graph itself. However, the way in which graph theory is implemented to the modelling of networks differs significantly (...)
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  40. Caterina Marchionni (2006). Contrastive Explanation and Unrealistic Models: The Case of the New Economic Geography. Journal of Economic Methodology 13 (4):425-446.
    The contrastive approach to explanation is employed to shed light on the issue of the unrealisticness of models and their assumptions in economics. If we take explanations to be answers to contrastive questions of the form, then unrealistic elements such as omissions and idealizations are (at least partly) dependent on the selected contrast. These contrast?dependent assumptions are shown to serve the function of fixing the shared causal background between the fact and the foil. It is argued that looking at the (...)
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  41. Thomas Mayer (1999). The Domain of Hypotheses and the Realism of Assumptions. Journal of Economic Methodology 6 (3):319-330.
    The principle that theories should be tested by the accuracy of their predictions but not by the realism of their assumptions needs to be qualified. As a practical matter we often need to evaluate the applicability of theories to cases for which they have not been tested by their predictions. Here we rely on the fact that theories are applicable only within a specific domain. In determining whether a specific case, for which no direct tests are available, is within the (...)
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  42. David Miller (1996). What Use Is Empirical Confirmation? Economics and Philosophy 12 (02):197-.
    1. Despite the plain fact that there is nothing in this world that can be proved without reliance on some assumption or another (perhaps only the assumption that the laws of logic are correct), there is an inalienable difference between an argument that begins by assuming what it is designed to establish and one that begins by assuming the contradictory of what it is designed to establish. Arguments of the first kind are uncontroversially acknowledged to be circular, or question-begging; though (...)
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  43. M. S. Morgan (1996). Idealization and Modelling. Journal of Economic Methodology 3 (1):131-138.
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  44. Stephen John Nash (2004). On Closure in Economics. Journal of Economic Methodology 11 (1):75-89.
    While attempting to avoid closure, it can be argued that two of the analytical techniques employed by Lawson (1997) strongly imply closure. First, while ostensibly directed at liberating analysis from all forms of closure, the demi?reg is shown to effectively rely on implied closure. Second, when the use of control groups is compared to Mäki's method of isolation, it can be shown that Lawson implies substantially similar closure to that which is proposed by Mäki. Such implied forms of closure generally (...)
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  45. Mark Amadeus Notturno (2014). Soros and Popper: On Fallibility, Reflexivity, and the Unity of Method. Journal of Economic Methodology 20 (4):420-428.
    Let me begin by saying that I think that George Soros is right in identifying fallibility and reflexivity as important phenomena in economic life, and in social life more generally, and as phenomena that mainstream economic theory has largely ignored. I also agree with Soros that economics is an uncertain science. And I think that Soros himself, being one of the world's wealthiest men and most generous philanthropists, deserves credit for being ready and willing to think for himself. It would (...)
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  46. Jay Odenbaugh & Anna Alexandrova (2011). Buyer Beware: Robustness Analyses in Economics and Biology. Biology and Philosophy 26 (5):757-771.
    Theoretical biology and economics are remarkably similar in their reliance on mathematical models, which attempt to represent real world systems using many idealized assumptions. They are also similar in placing a great emphasis on derivational robustness of modeling results. Recently philosophers of biology and economics have argued that robustness analysis can be a method for confirmation of claims about causal mechanisms, despite the significant reliance of these models on patently false assumptions. We argue that the power of robustness analysis has (...)
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  47. Steven Rappaport (1996). Abstraction and Unrealistic Assumptions in Economics∗. Journal of Economic Methodology 3 (2):215-236.
    Economics has been persistently criticized for its heavy reliance on unrealistic assumptions. Some people reply to this criticism by saying that the unrealistic assumptions of economics result from abstraction from unimportant details, and abstraction is necessary for knowledge of a complex real world. So, far from unrealistic assumptions detracting from the epistemic worth of economics, such assumptions are essential for economic knowledge. I call this line of argument ?the Abstractionist Defense?. After clarifying abstraction, unrealistic assumptions and kindred notions, I show (...)
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  48. Julian Reiss (2013). The Explanation Paradox Redux. Journal of Economic Methodology 20 (3):280 - 292.
    I respond to some challenges raised by my critics. In particular, I argue in favour of six claims. First, against Alexandrova and Northcott, I point out that to deny the explanatoriness of economic models by assuming an ontic (specifically, causal) conception of explanation is to beg the question. Second, against defences of causal realism (by Hausman, Mäki, Rol and Grüne-Yanoff) I point out that they have provided no criterion to distinguish those claims a model makes that can be interpreted realistically (...)
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  49. Julian Reiss (2012). Idealization and the Aims of Economics: Three Cheers for Instrumentalism. Economics and Philosophy 28 (3):363-383.
    This paper aims to provide characterizations of realism and instrumentalism that are philosophically interesting and applicable to economics; and to defend instrumentalism against realism as a methodological stance in economics. Starting point is the observation that , which, or so I argue, is difficult to square with the realist's aim of truth, even if the latter is understood as or . The three cheers in favour of instrumentalism are: Once we have usefulness, truth is redundant. There is something disturbing about (...)
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  50. Julian Reiss (2012). The Explanation Paradox. Journal of Economic Methodology 19 (1):43-62.
    This paper examines mathematical models in economics and observes that three mutually inconsistent hypotheses concerning models and explanation are widely held: (1) economic models are false; (2) economic models are nevertheless explanatory; and (3) only true accounts explain. Commentators have typically resolved the paradox by rejecting either one of these hypotheses. I will argue that none of the proposed resolutions work and conclude that therefore the paradox is genuine and likely to stay.
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