Disputed (Disciplinary) Boundaries : Philosophy, Economics and Value Judgments

History of Economic Ideas 24 (3):187-221 (2016)


The paper aims to address the following two questions: what kind of discourse is that which attempt to found or defend the autonomy or the boundaries of a discipline? Why do such discourses tend to turn into normative, dogmatic-excommunicating discourses between disciplines, schools or scholars? I will argue that an adequate answer may be found if we conceive disciplines as dogmatics, where such discourses often take the form of a discourse on the foundation of a discipline, a foundation in the name of which the scholar speaks and with which he/she entertains an identity relationship. To this purpose I will re-examine the methodological discourses of (and debates between) Pareto, Croce and Einaudi on the demarcation issue between philosophy, economics and value-judgments as highly instructive to understand such issues.

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Paolo Silvestri
University of Turin

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