Why economics is not a science of behaviour

Journal of Economic Methodology 18 (2):147-162 (2011)
Abstract
The paper criticises psychologism, i.e. the idea that economics is a science of behaviour or that it must be rooted in such a science. The argument is based on Hayek and Popper's thesis that economics studies spontaneous order. First, it is argued that if economics is to retain its traditional distance from psychology, it has to abandon the notion that it is concerned with behaviour. Then it is shown that there is no simple one-way causation from the psychological to the social and that the study of spontaneous order must be non-psychological. Further, an attempt is made to clarify some misunderstandings about the concept of spontaneous order and the differences between psychologism and methodological individualism. Finally, it is suggested that the difference between the psychological and the social can be described conveniently in Popperian terms as the difference between the ?World 2? and ?World 3? phenomena.
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    References found in this work BETA
    Leon J. Goldstein (1959). Mr Watkins on the Two Theses. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 10 (39):240-241.
    Leon J. Goldstein (1958). The Two Theses of Methodological Individualism. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 9 (33):1-11.
    F. A. Hayek (1955). Degrees of Explanation. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 6 (23):209-225.

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