The Economic World View: Studies in the Ontology of Economics

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Overview

Does economic man exist? Do aggregates exist? Do markets have an essence? How are economic phenomena caused? Do economists believe in the theories they use? These essays seek to unearth the "ontological underworld" that shapes the criteria economists use in making choices among theories to understand economic behavior. These criteria include fundamental, unarticulated ideas regarding the basic constitutents and structure of social reality, that is, about human beings and the social arrangement of their lives. This important collection will be of great value to economists and philosophers of social sciences.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The publication of this new book on the philosophy of economics is reason to celebrate, and the editor deserves praise for this accomplishment. It is the mature outcome of years of reflection on the subject.... This is one of the best books that I have read on philosophy of economics...it is necessary for anyone who wants to know the current state of this exciting field of research." Markets and Morality
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521000208
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 420
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

Notes on the contributors
Preface
I The what, why, and how of economic ontology
1 Economics ontology: what? why? how? 3
2 The empirical presuppositions of metaphysical explanations in economics 15
3 Quality and quantity in economics : the metaphysical construction of the economic realm 32
II Rationality and homo economics
4 The normative core of rational choice theory 57
5 The virtual reality of homo economics 75
6 Expressive rationality: is self-worth just another kind of preference? 98
7 Agent identity in economics 114
8 Chances and choices: notes on probability and belief in economic theory 132
III Micro, macro and markets
9 Essences and markets 157
10 The metaphysics of microeconomics 174
11 Ontological commitments of evolutionary economics 189
12 Is macroeconomics for real? 225
13 The possibility of economics objectivity 246
IV The world of economic causes
14 Ceteris paribus laws and socio-economic machines 275
15 Tendencies, laws, and the composition of economic causes 293
16 Economics without mechanism 308
V Methodological implications of economic ontology
17 Sargent's symmetry saga: ontological versus technical constraints 335
18 Two models of idealization in economics
Alan Nelson 359
19 The way the world works (www): towards an ontology of theory choice 369
Names index 390
Subject index 395
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