David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of the Philosophy of History 5 (3):425-445 (2012)
Abstract This paper argues that history of economics has a fruitful, underappreciated role to play in the development of economics, especially when understood as a policy science. This goes against the grain of the last half century during which economics, which has undergone a formal revolution, has distanced itself from its `literary' past and practices precisely with the aim to be a more successful policy science. The paper motivates the thesis by identifying and distinguishing four kinds of reflexivity in economics. The main thesis of this paper is that because these forms of reflexivity are not eliminable, the history of economics must play a constitutive role in economics (and graduate education within economics). An assumption that I clarify in this paper is that the history of economics ought to be part of the subject matter studied by economics when they are interested in policy science. Even if one does not accept the conclusion, the fourfold classification of reflexivity might hold independent interest. The paper is divided in two parts. First, by reflecting on the writings of George Stigler, Paul Samuelson, George and Milton Friedman, I offer a stylized historical introduction to and conceptualization of the themes of this paper. In particular, I identify various historically influential arguments and strategies that reduced the role of history of economics within the economics discipline. In it I also canvass six arguments that try to capture the cost to economics (understood as a science) for sidelining the history of economics from within the discipline. A sub-text of the introduction is that for contingent reasons, post World War II economics evolved into a policy science. Second, by drawing on the work of Kenneth Boulding, in particular, George Soros, Thomas Merton, Gordon Tullock, I distinguish between four species of reflexivity. These are used to then strengthen the argument for the constitutive role of the history of economics within the economics profession. In particular, I argue that so-called Kuhn-losses are especially pernicious when faced with policy choices under so-called Knightian uncertainty
|Keywords||History of Economics Knightian Uncertainty Methodology Philosophic Prophecy Reflexivity Public Policy|
|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
Huei-Chun Su (2012). Beyond the Positive–Normative Dichotomy: Some Remarks on Colander'sLost Art of Economics. Journal of Economic Methodology 19 (4):375-390.
José M. Edwards (2012). The History of the Use of Self-Reports and the Methodology of Economics. Journal of Economic Methodology 19 (4):357-374.
Tony Lawson (1997). Economics and Reality. Routledge.
Esther-Mirjam Sent (1999). Economics of Science: Survey and Suggestions. Journal of Economic Methodology 6 (1):95-124.
Ian Malcolm David Little (2002). Ethics, Economics, and Politics: Principles of Public Policy. Oxford University Press.
David Colander (1995). Is Milton Friedman an Artist or a Scientist? Journal of Economic Methodology 2 (1):105-122.
Uskali Mäki (1999). Science as a Free Market: A Reflexivity Test in an Economics of Economics. Perspectives on Science 7 (4):486-509.
Jürgen Backhaus & Reginald Hansen (2000). Methodenstreit in der Nationalökonomie. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 31 (2):307-336.
Daniel M. Hausman (1992). Essays on Philosophy and Economic Methodology. Cambridge University Press.
Matthieu Ballandonne (2012). New Economics of Science, Economics of Scientific Knowledge and Sociology of Science: The Case of Paul David. Journal of Economic Methodology 19 (4):391-406.
Roger E. Backhouse & Matthias Klaes (2009). Applying Economics, Using Evidence. Journal of Economic Methodology 16 (2):139-144.
Edith Kuiper & Jolande Sap (eds.) (1995). Out of the Margin: Feminist Perspectives on Economics. Routledge.
Philippe Mongin (2006). Value Judgements and Value Neutrality in Economics. Economica 73 (290):257-286.
Douglas W. Hands (1984). What Economics is Not: An Economist's Response to Rosenberg. Philosophy of Science 51 (3):495-503.
Daniel M. Hausman (ed.) (2008). The Philosophy of Economics: An Anthology. Cambridge University Press.
Added to index2011-12-06
Total downloads30 ( #69,457 of 1,692,449 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #59,665 of 1,692,449 )
How can I increase my downloads?