David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of Science 46 (2):204-222 (1979)
We summarize the evidence and arguments usually employed against the use of the profit maximization assumption in microeconomic theory, and then pass directly to the methodological arguments. Two arguments are considered. The first summarizes positions which have been taken by various defenders of the "people who think a theory should be given up just because it is false are naive and confused" view. To rebut this view, we develop a scheme for classifying theoretical assumptions and show that the specious plausibility of the argument in question derives from ignoring the distinctions we have drawn. The second argument attempts to show that a better theory is more likely to be attained by continuing the development of the orthodox theory. We show that this view is mistaken and then discuss steps which have been taken to develop a better theory
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