David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Economic Methodology 12 (1):35-61 (2005)
Following James Rule and Colin Clark, a single?theory?driven approach to scientific inquiry which focuses on testing particular theories can be distinguished from an explanation?driven approach which is open to all observations and whose results do not cease to have value with the passing of a particular theory. Several ?decision points? in the historiography of the Great Depression are examined and it is shown that the decisions made at each point reflect a single?theory?driven orientation. It is argued that the single?theory?driven approach likely characterizes other fields of Economics, and also that this paper's method of applying a ?test? to various decision points in the evolution of economic thought is of widespread utility. The likely cost of a single?theory?driven bias in terms of our collective understanding is discussed.
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