An Ontology of Economics?

Ontology is one of today’s buzzwords. It is back in fashion in analytical philosophy and Artificial Intelligence, and major projects and research centres get funding around the world (cf. e.g. the Buffalo Centre for Ontological Research, the Laboratory for Ontology in Turin, the Institute for Formal Ontology and Medical Information Science in Saarland). In the philosophy of science ontology has arguably always been a key area of research, under the guise of ‘The foundations of __’ (physics, biology, chemistry, etc.). Economics however is an exception. Because of economics’ hybrid status, philosophers’ interest in its foundations has traditionally focused on normative issues – typically the theory of rationality that lies at the core of the neoclassical paradigm. What is relatively new, then, 1 is the current growth of interest for the metaphysics of economics as a descriptive scientific discipline (see e.g. Mäki, ed. 2001)
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