Reductionism in Economics: Intentionality and Eschatological Justification in the Microfoundations of Macroeconomics

Philosophy of Science 82 (4):689-711 (2015)
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Macroeconomists overwhelmingly believe that macroeconomics requires microfoundations, typically understood as a strong eliminativist reductionism. Microfoundations aims to recover intentionality. In the face of technical and data constraints macroeconomists typically employ a representative-agent model, in which a single agent solves the microeconomic optimization problem for the whole economy, and take it to be microfoundationally adequate. The characteristic argument for the representative-agent model holds that the possibility of the sequential elaboration of the model to cover any number of individual agents justifies treating the policy conclusions of the single-agent model as practically relevant. This eschatological justification is examined and rejected



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Kevin Hoover
Duke University

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References found in this work

Experience and Nature.John Dewey - 1925 - Mind 34 (136):476-482.
Why Do Spatiotemporally Restricted Regularities Explain in the Social Sciences?Alex Rosenberg - 2012 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (1):1-26.
Is Macroeconomics for Real?Kevin D. Hoover - 1995 - The Monist 78 (3):235-257.

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