David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Economic Methodology 2 (1):53-78 (1995)
This paper explores the influence of operationalism and its corollary, descriptivism, on Paul Samuelson's revealed preference theory as it developed between 1937 and 1948. Samuelson urged the disencumbering of metaphysics from economic theory. As an illustration, he showed how utility could be operationally redefined as revealed preference, and, furthermore, how from hypotheses such as maximizing behavior, operationally meaningful theorems could be deduced, thereby satisfying his demand for a scientific, empirical approach toward consumer behavior theory. In this paper I discuss the ensuing debate during the 1950s and 1960s on Samuelson's operationalism that raised doubts about its efficacy. In addition, I argue that certain concepts (revealed preference, equilibrium) and theorems (e.g., weak and strong axioms) that are supposedly operational in revealed preference theory, lack operational meaning, not withstanding their mathematical implications. Finally, I suggest that, although Samuelson's methodological rhetoric did not correspond with his implicit aprioristic theorizing, he possibly thought that his methodology and theorizing would converge in the long run.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Daniel M. Hausman (2000). Revealed Preference, Belief, and Game Theory. Economics and Philosophy 16 (1):99-115.
Philippe Mongin (2000). Does Optimization Imply Rationality? Synthese 124 (1-2):73 - 111.
Justin Bledin & Sharon Shewmake (2004). Research Programs, Model-Building and Actor-Network-Theory: Reassessing the Case of the Leontief Paradox. Journal of Economic Methodology 11 (4):455-476.
Kotaro Suzumura, An Interview with Paul Samuelson: Welfare Economics, Â€Œoldâ€ and Â€Œnewâ€, and Social Choice Theory.
Olaf L. Müller (2004). Autodetermination in Microeconomics – A Methodological Case Study on the Theory of Demand. Analyse Und Kritik. Zeitschrift für Sozialtheorie 26 (2):319-345.
Daniel M. Hausman (2005). Sympathy, Commitment, and Preference. Economics and Philosophy 21 (1):33-50.
Taradas Bandyopadhyay & Larry Samuelson (1992). Weakly Implementable Social Choice Rules. Theory and Decision 33 (2):135-151.
Alfredo Di Tillio, Itzhak Gilboa & Larry Samuelson (2013). The Predictive Role of Counterfactuals. Theory and Decision 74 (2):167-182.
Michele Lombardi, What Kind of Preference Maximization Does the Weak Axiom of Revealed Non-Inferiority Characterize?
Paul A. Samuelson (1975). Maximum Principles in Analytical Economics. Synthese 31 (2):323 - 344.
William B. Griffith (1991). The Methodology of Economic Model Building: Methodology After Samuelson, Lawrence A. Boland. London: Routledge, 1989, V + 194 Pages. [REVIEW] Economics and Philosophy 7 (01):119-122.
Paul Mattick (1972). Samuelson's "Transformation" of Marxism Into Bourgeois Economics. Science and Society 36 (3):258 - 273.
David Squires (1998). Impossibility Theorems for Normal Form Games. Theory and Decision 44 (1):67-81.
Robin Pope (2000). Reconciliation with the Utility of Chance by Elaborated Outcomes Destroys the Axiomatic Basis of Expected Utility Theory. Theory and Decision 49 (3):223-234.
Added to index2012-02-20
Total downloads4 ( #252,595 of 1,098,973 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #175,054 of 1,098,973 )
How can I increase my downloads?