Essays on Philosophy and Economic Methodology

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This collection brings together the essays of one of the foremost American philosophers of economics. Cumulatively, they offer fresh perspectives on foundational questions such as, What sort of science is economics? and, How successful can economists be in acquiring knowledge of their subject matter? In Part I, Professor Hausman addresses problems of economic theory and criticizes views, such as those of Karl Popper and Milton Friedman, that see the acceptability of economics as deriving from its predictive success. The author upholds the traditional view that we have reason to believe the conclusions of economic theories because they are deduced from plausible fundamental principles. The essays in Part II defend the importance of causal notions in theoretical economics, those in Part III concern the structure and development of economic theory. The chapters in Part IV, together with the general introduction, provide an accessible account of Hausman's general philosophical perspective and of the purposes underlying his reflections on economics.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521060141
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/4/2008
  • Pages: 268
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: What is philosophy of economics? 1
Pt. I Methodology and Theory Appraisal 11
1 Economic methodology in a nutshell 13
2 On the conceptual structure of neoclassical economics - a philosopher's view 25
3 John Stuart Mill's philosophy of economics 33
4 The deductive method 54
5 Why look under the hood? 70
6 An appraisal of Popperian methodology 74
7 Is falsificationism unpractised or unpractisable? 92
8 The limits of economic science 99
Pt. II Causality in Economics 107
9 Are there causal relations among dependent variables? 109
10 Classical wage theory and the causal complications of explaining distribution 129
11 Supply and demand explanations and their ceteris paribus clauses 147
Pt. III Cases and Puzzles 163
12 What are general equilibrium theories? 165
13 Arbitrage arguments 172
14 Explanatory progress in economics 186
15 On dogmatism in economics: the case of preference reversals 200
Pt. IV Postscripts 219
16 How to do philosophy of economics 221
17 Reflections on philosophy and economic methodology 230
Bibliography of relevant writings by Daniel M. Hausman 237
Bibliography of works by other authors 239
Index 253
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