Reply to hands: On the Robbins-Samuelson argument pattern
The paper replies to Wade Hands’s recent criticism of one part of my 2005 book, Economic Theory and Cognitive Science: Microexplanation (ETCS). Hands argues that my association of my view of the foundations of microeconomics with aspects of the thought of Lionel Robbins and Paul Samuelson is gratuitous and historically misleading. I argue in turn that Hands’s general criticism rests on his ignoring the fact that my treatment of both Robbins and Samuelson is explicitly critical. On Robbins, I argue that Hands’s concerns amount to an objection to me only given an absurd principle to the effect that the only non-misleading kind of associative relationship one can draw between two historical theses is identity. On Samuelson the dialectic is more complicated because, as a result of not understanding what philosophers call ‘externalism about intentional content’, Hands misreads the relationship I aim to construct between my general view and Samuelson’s.
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