Machlup's misrepresentation of Hutchison's methodology

Journal of Economic Methodology 16 (3):325-340 (2009)
Hutchison's 1938 essay has been mainly interpreted as introducing positivism and ultra-empiricism into economics. Such interpretations misrepresent his position. While he clearly drew on logical positivism, his methodology stems from a more moderate form of empiricism. However the issue at stake is not the exact degree of Hutchison's empiricism, but rather the extent to which such negative labelling has trivialised his position and distracted attention from the main concern of his 1938 essay. This was to mount a sustained and systematic criticism of the traditional abstract-deductive method in economics. In its place Hutchison sought to promote a more empirical, inductive approach. The paper is concerned with demonstrating the extent to which Machlup failed to provide evidence of Hutchison's ultra-empiricism. It thereby seeks to clear the way towards a reappraisal of Hutchison's methodology and towards a reappraisal of its relevance in our post-positivist era.
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DOI 10.1080/13501780903129314
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D. Wade Hands (2009). Introduction. Journal of Economic Methodology 16 (3):287-291.

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