A failure to communicate: the fact-value divide and the Putnam-Dasgupta debate

Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 6 (2):1 (2013)
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Abstract

This paper considers the debate between economists and philosophers about the role of values in economic analysis by examining the recent debate between Hilary Putnam and Sir Partha Dasgupta. It argues that although there has been a failure to communicate there is much more agreement than it seems. If Dasgupta's work is seen as part of the methodological tradition expounded by John Stuart Mill and John Neville Keynes, economists and philosophers will have a better basis for understanding each other. Unlike the logical-positivist tradition, which treats facts and values as two mutually exclusive concepts, the Mill- Keynes tradition recognizes that facts and values are intertwined. Unlike the Smithian tradition, which blends the study of facts and normative rules, it divides economics into a science that studies "what is" and an art which considers "what ought to be done".

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Citations of this work

Fact-value entanglement in positive economics.Julian Reiss - 2017 - Journal of Economic Methodology 24 (2):134-149.
Making sense of economists' positive-normative distinction.David Colander & Huei-Chun Su - 2015 - Journal of Economic Methodology 22 (2):157-170.
Values in Time Discounting.Conrad Heilmann - 2017 - Science and Engineering Ethics 23 (5):1333-1349.

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