David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
When I was an undergraduate in Oxford, we were taught economics almost as though it were a natural science. The subject matter of economics might be different from physics, but only in the way that the subject matter of chemistry or biology is different from physics. The actual results were presented to us as if they were scientific theories. So when we learned that savings equals investment, it was taught in the same tone of voice as one teaches that force equals mass times acceleration. And we learned that rational entrepreneurs sell where marginal cost equals marginal revenue in the way that we once learned that bodies attract in a way that is directly proportional to the product of their mass and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. At no point was it ever suggested that the reality described by economic theory was dependent on human beliefs and other attitudes in a way that was totally unlike the reality described by physics or chemistry. Some years ago, when I published The Construction of Social Reality, I was aware that it had implications for the ontology of economics, but I was not aware that there had already been an important revival of the tradition of institutional economics. It would be an understatement to say that I welcome this interest in institutions; I enthusiastically support it. But I think that in the institutional literature there is still an unclarity about what exactly an institution is. What is the ontology, the mode of existence, of institutional reality? This article tries to add to this discussion. Economics as a subject matter, unlike physics or chemistry, is largely concerned with institutional facts. Facts about money and interest rates, exchange and employment, corporations and the balance of payments, form the very heart of the subject of economics. When Lionel Robbins, in a classic work, tells us that “Economics is a study of the disposal of scarce commodities,”2 he takes for granted a huge invisible institutional....
|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
Frank Hindriks (2009). Constitutive Rules, Language, and Ontology. Erkenntnis 71 (2):253-275.
Frank Hindriks (2012). But Where Is the University? Dialectica 66 (1):93-113.
J. P. Smit, Filip Buekens & Stan du Plessis (2013). Developing the Incentivized Action View of Institutional Reality. Synthese (8):1-18.
Julia W. Van de Vondervoort & Ori Friedman (2015). Parallels in Preschoolers' and Adults' Judgments About Ownership Rights and Bodily Rights. Cognitive Science 39 (1):184-198.
Hannes Rakoczy (2008). Pretence as Individual and Collective Intentionality. Mind and Language 23 (5):499-517.
Similar books and articles
J. P. Smit, Filip Buekens & Stan du Plessis (2011). What is Money? An Alternative to Searle's Institutional Facts. Economics and Philosophy 27 (1):1-22.
Anne van Aaken (2002). Deliberative Institutional Economics, or Does Homo Oeconomicus Argue?: A Proposal for Combining New Institutional Economics with Discourse Theory. Philosophy and Social Criticism 28 (4):361-394.
Stephan Boehm (2002). The Ramifications of John Searle's Social Philosophy in Economics. Journal of Economic Methodology 9 (1):1-10.
Tony Lawson (1997). Economics and Reality. Routledge.
Margaret Schabas (2009). Constructing "the Economy". Philosophy of the Social Sciences 39 (1):3-19.
Robert A. Gehring (2006). The Institutionalization of Open Source. Poiesis and Praxis 4 (1):54-73.
Matthias Klaes (2004). Evolutionary Economics: In Defence of 'Vagueness'. Journal of Economic Methodology 11 (3):359-376.
Daniel M. Hausman (1992). Essays on Philosophy and Economic Methodology. Cambridge University Press.
Peter J. Boettke (1990). Individuals and Institutions. Critical Review 4 (1-2):10-26.
Hans Lind (1993). A Note on Fundamental Theory and Idealizations in Economics and Physics. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (3):493-503.
Partha Dasgupta (2005). What Do Economists Analyze and Why: Values or Facts? Economics and Philosophy 21 (2):221-278.
Uskali Mäki (1998). Aspects of Realism About Economics. Theoria 13 (2):301-319.
Neil de Marchi (1992). More Heat Than Light: Economics as Social Physics, Physics as Nature's Economics, Philip Mirowski. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989, Xii + 450 Pages. [REVIEW] Economics and Philosophy 8 (1):163.
Ekkehart Schlicht (1998). On Custom in the Economy. Clarendon Press.
Added to index2010-12-22
Total downloads137 ( #25,630 of 1,790,307 )
Recent downloads (6 months)7 ( #123,390 of 1,790,307 )
How can I increase my downloads?