£
Truth and Progress in Economic Knowledge

Hardback

Truth and Progress in Economic Knowledge

9781852786915 Edward Elgar Publishing
Roger E. Backhouse, Professor of the History and Philosophy of Economics, University of Birmingham, UK
Publication Date: 1997 ISBN: 978 1 85278 691 5 Extent: 256 pp
Truth and Progress in Economic Knowledge provides a new perspective on economic methodology, specifically addressing progress in economic knowledge. This important investigation argues that economic methodology is developed through analysing economics, not through imposing a framework developed in other sciences.

Copyright & permissions

Recommend to librarian

Your Details

Privacy Policy

Librarian Details

Download leaflet

Print page

More Information
Critical Acclaim
Contents
More Information
Truth and Progress in Economic Knowledge provides a new perspective on economic methodology, specifically addressing progress in economic knowledge. This important investigation argues that economic methodology is developed through analysing economics, not through imposing a framework developed in other sciences.

Roger Backhouse begins his discussion by defending economic methodology both against economists who object to it on practical grounds and post-modern critics who argue that the notion of methodology makes no sense. He then explores the concept of progress, drawing on ideas from Kuhn, the notion of pragmatism and the Popperian tradition. The discussion develops to examine theoretical economics, considering Lakatos’s concept of informal mathematics, analysing replication in economics and the use of econometrics and informal empirical methods to test economic theories. The author argues that replication is not simply an econometric problem, but a problem for economics, as it involves both the nature of economic theory and the way in which economists use economic results.

This new approach to economic methodology will be of special interest to academics, philosophers with an interest in economics and social sciences, and students of economic methodology.
Critical Acclaim
‘This excellent book is written by someone who understands the many shortcomings of modern economics, while not being persuaded by the excesses of post-modern critiques. Nor is he despairing of the possibilities of genuine progress in the subject, no matter how difficult in principle, and halting in practice, his own analysis shows it to be. Backhouse provides a well-balanced discussion of economists’ debates on the meaning of knowledge and progress in their subject and of how they go about trying to advance these. . . . What it does provide is a thoughtful read for anyone interested in issues concerning economic knowledge. The arguments are well structured, the language is clear, and the organisation is methodical – almost at the text book level, with subheadings and numbered points. . . . This book should be required reading for all those students of economics before they are turned loose to practice their powerful but imprecise art, which is potentially valuable and dangerous in almost equal proportions.’
– Richard G. Lipsey, The Economic Journal

‘. . . the author succeeds in providing a very accessible, informative, insightful, and highly relevant introduction to various important, if sometimes complex, debates and themes that have a bearing on, or for, modern mainstream economics. This is no small achievement. As such, I suspect that this is one of the few books available that stand a chance of bringing modern developments to the attention of a wider, including mainstream, audience. If Backhouse’s book does succeed in drawing some of the latter into the modern day discussion, in this way alone it will have served a very useful purpose indeed.’
– Tony Lawson, European Journal of the History of Economic Thought

‘Roger Backhouse has written a valuable introduction to some of the major current debates in methodology. The book is clearly written and is short, and that makes it a welcome addition to a list of recommended reading for students. In particular, the concluding chapter is one that all graduate students should read as a supplement. . . to the narrow focus of the typical theory course. . . . this book is well worth reading.’
– T. Mayer, Journal of Economics

‘In all, especially the second part of the book can be recommended to researchers interested in empirical (macro)economics. This slim volume may nicely complement other recent methodological work.’
– Jean-Robert Tyran, Kyklos

‘A remarkably insightful book, one that all economics graduate students should read.’
–Thomas Mayer, University of California Davis, US

‘This is a book that ought to be read by all economists and not just those interested in the methodology of economics. It is about the two biggest questions confronting economics – is anything said by economists true of the real world, and are we making progress in understanding that world? – and while of course it does not provide pat answers to those questions, it certainly goes some way, indeed a long way to answering them.’
– The late Mark Blaug, formerly of the University of London and University of Buckingham, UK
Contents
Contents: 1. Introduction 2. Why Methodology? 3. Postmodernism and Methodology, I: Exposition 4. Postmodernism and Methodology, II: Criticism 5. A Historical Perspective on Science 6. The Pragmatist Tradition 7. The Popperian Tradition 8. The Concept of Progress 9. Is Economics an Empirical Science? 10. Theoretical Progress in Economics 11. Econometrics and the Establishment of Economic Facts 12. Econometrics and Testing Economic Theories 13. Economic Theory, Empirical Evidence and Progress in Economics References Index
My Cart