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Reason and Reality in the Methodologies of Economics

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Reason and Reality in the Methodologies of Economics

An Introduction

9781840641394 Edward Elgar Publishing
Glenn Fox, Professor of Agricultural Economics, University of Guelph, Canada
Publication Date: 1999 ISBN: 978 1 84064 139 4 Extent: 160 pp
This highly original new book examines the scientific status of economics from the perspective of practising economists. It studies how they evaluate their theories, the relationship between those theories and the phenomena they are intended to represent, and the philosophy, methodology and scientific credentials of economics. It examines the tension between economics as the logic of rational choice and as a predictive science, that is reason and reality respectively.

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Contents
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This highly original new book examines the scientific status of economics from the perspective of practising economists. It studies how they evaluate their theories, the relationship between those theories and the phenomena they are intended to represent, and the philosophy, methodology and scientific credentials of economics. It examines the tension between economics as the logic of rational choice and as a predictive science, that is reason and reality respectively.

It surveys the five most influential schools of thought in the methodology of economics, with special emphasis on theory appraisal: logical positivism, instrumentalism, a priorism, scientific realism and rhetorical analysis. Professor Fox assesses the extent to which economists have followed the precepts and consequences of their methodological position. He extends the discussion to consider the purpose of such economic inquiry, the scope of application and the appropriate structure of economic theory, as the legitimate sources of economic knowledge. In conclusion he argues that a resolution of existing and emerging methodological controversies in economics must begin with a better understanding of the various voices within the discipline.

Intended as an introduction to the major schools of thought in economics, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of economics, philosophy and economic methodology.
Critical Acclaim
‘Economists are producers of economic knowledge. But what is the relation of that knowledge to the object of inquiry and to the mode of analysis? The status of a statement of knowledge depends on the positions economists accept in such matters. But economists have quite different perceptions of
both the object of inquiry and their mode(s) of analysis. Glenn Fox presents the issues and the positions involved in these matters in a rich and lucid manner. His book is a superb introduction to methodological issues for the beginner and a suggestive review for the specialist.’
– Warren J. Samuels, Michigan State University, US
Contents
Contents: 1. Is there a Crisis in Economics? 2. How do Economists Know What They Know? 3. What is Methodology? 4. Economics as Positivism and Falsificationism 5. Economics as Prediction 6. Economics as Deduction 7. Economics as Realism 8. Economics as Conversation and Rhetoric 9. Is Economics a Science? Index
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