Idealization and the aims of economics: Three cheers for instrumentalism

Economics and Philosophy 28 (3):363-383 (2012)
This paper aims to provide characterizations of realism and instrumentalism that are philosophically interesting and applicable to economics; and to defend instrumentalism against realism as a methodological stance in economics. Starting point is the observation that, which, or so I argue, is difficult to square with the realist's aim of truth, even if the latter is understood as or. The three cheers in favour of instrumentalism are: Once we have usefulness, truth is redundant. There is something disturbing about causal structure. It's better to do what one can than to chase rainbows.
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DOI 10.1017/S0266267112000284
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References found in this work BETA
Ernan McMullin (1985). Galilean Idealization. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 16 (3):247-273.

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Julian Reiss (2013). The Explanation Paradox Redux. Journal of Economic Methodology 20 (3):280 - 292.

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