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Philosophy of Economics - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780444516763, 9780080930770

Philosophy of Economics

1st Edition

Series Editors: Dov M. Gabbay Paul Thagard John Woods
Series Volume Editor: Uskali Mäki
eBook ISBN: 9780080930770
Hardcover ISBN: 9780444516763
Imprint: North Holland
Published Date: 23rd April 2012
Page Count: 928
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Table of Contents


General Preface



Part A General Philosophical Themes

Realism and Antirealism About Economics

1 Introduction

2 Scientific Realism in Conventional Philosophy of Science

3 Ingredients of a Minimal Scientific Realism

4 Commonsensibles and their Modifications in Economic Modelling

5 Social Construction (What?) of What?

6 Conclusion


The Rise and fall of Popper and Lakatos in Economics

1 Introduction

2 Early Engagements with Popper

3 Lakatos and the Emergence of Economic Methodology

4 The Movement from Popper and Lakatos

5 Appraising Economic Theories

6 Methodology After Lakatos

7 Conclusions



Models and Modelling in Economics

1 Introduction

2 Nature of Economic Models

3 Working with Models

4 Conclusions: From Models to Modelling



Economic Theory and Causal Inference

1 Reductionist and Structuralist Accounts of Causality

2 Structual Estimation and Causality

3 The Assault on Macroeconometric Models

4 Inferring Causes from Interventions

5 Graph-Theoretic Accounts of Causal Structure

6 A Synthetic Program for Uncovering The Causal Structure of Vars


Naturalism and the Nature of Economic Evidence

1 Naturalism and Evidence

2 Nonexperimental Evidence

3 Experimental Evidence

4 Evidence and Unrealistic Causal Models



Some Issues Concerning the Nature of Economic Explanation

1 Some Controversies About Explanation

2 Formal Criteria for Explanation in Economics

3 Theoretical Entities and Explanation

4 When do Models Explain?

5 Macro and Microexplanation

6 Functional Explanation and Evolutionary Economics

7 The Nature of Economic Causes

8 Conclusion


The Unreasonable Efficacy of Mathematics in Modern Economics

1 The Classical Arguments

2 The Role and Functions of Mathematics in Neoclassical Economics

3 Post-1980 Developments in Alternative Possibilities for Mathematical Formalization in Economics

4 A Revival of Philosophy of Mathematics for Economics?


Feminist Philosophy of Economics


What Makes an Economic Inquiry Feminist?

Is Rational Choice Theory Androcentric?

Values and Objectivity in Economics

“Critical Realism:” A Contested View in Feminist Philosophy of Economics



The Positive-Normative Dichotomy and Economics

1 Introduction to the Positive-Normative Dichotomy

2 The History of the Positive-Normative Dichotomy in Economics

3 Normative and Ethically Normative

4 The Entanglement of Positive and (Ethically) Normative

5 Conclusion



Economic Theory, Anti-Economics, And Political Ideology

1 Introduction

2 Anti-Economists and Markets

3 Economic Theory and the Normative Status of the Market

4 Non-Ideological Economics


Social Scientific Naturalism and Experimentation in Economics

1 Is Game Theory Testable?

2 Difficulties in Testing Game Theory

3 Determining Preferences

4 The Implications of Preference Complexities

5 Some Implications for Social Scientific Naturalism

6 Conclusions



Part B Specific Methods, Theories, Approaches, Paradigms, Schools, Traditions

The Philosophy of Economic Forecasting

1 Introduction

2 Prerequisites

3 Forecasting, Prediction, and Economics

4 The Purpose of Economics

5 Philosophical Questions

6 Causality and Control


Philosophy of Econometrics

1 Introduction

2 Relevant Philosophical/Methodological Issues

3 Philosophy of Science and Empirical Modeling

4 Statistical Inference and its Foundational Problems

5 Error-Statistics (E-S) and Inductive Inference

6 Statistical Adequacy and the Reliability of Inference

7 Philosophical/Methodological Issues Pertaining to Econometrics

8 Summary And Conclusions



Measurement in Economics

1 The Representational Theory of Measurement

2 Axiomatic Representational Theory of Measurement

3 Empirical Representational Theory of Measurement

4 Instrument Measurement

5 Reliable Measurement Results

6 Economic Modeling



Geographical Economics and its Neighbours — Forces Towards and Against Unification

1 Introduction

2 Geographical Economics and its Neighbours

3 Explanatory Unification4

4 Intra-Disciplinary Unification of Location, Trade and Growth

5 Inter-Disciplinary Unification: Economics Imperialism10

6 Unrealistic Assumptions, Idealizations and Explanatory Power

7 Concluding Remarks



The Homo Economicus Conception of the Individual

1 Existence as a Category of Investigation

2 What Exists in Economics?

3 The Homo Economicus Conception of the Individual

4 The Problem of Multiple Selves

5 Three Precursor Social Identity Arguments

6 Recent Social Identity Arguments

7 The Conception of the Individual in Recent Economics


Rational Choice and Some Difficulties for Consequentialism*

1 Introduction

2 Transitivity

3 Independence

4 Difficulties With the Formalisation of Non-Dictatorship

5 The Identification Problem

6 Summary


Rational Choice, Preferences Over Actions and Rule-Following Behavior

1 Introduction

2 Rationality Principle and Rationality Hypotheses in Economics

3 Adjusting the Utility Function

4 Preferences Over Actions and Rule Following

5 The Rationale of Rule-Following Behavior

6 The Explanation of Rule-Following Behavior

7 Conclusion



Philosophy of Game Theory

1 Introduction

2 Some Basic Concepts

3 Game Theory as a Normative Theory of Rationality

4 Game Theory as a Predictive Theory

5 Conclusion


An Embarrassment of Riches

1 Social Preferences

2 Analysis Based on BUG

3 Variants to BUG

4 Conclusion


Experimentation in Economics

1 Introduction

2 Theory and Experiment

3 Experimental Inferences

4 External Validity

5 The Philosophical Relevance of Experimental Economics’ Results

6 Other Issues and Readings



Behavioral Economics

1 Introduction

2 The Intellectual Backdrop

3 Psychological Approaches During the Late Neoclassical Period

4 The “New” Behavioral Economics

5 The Methods of Behavioral Economics

6 Current Directions

7 Conclusion



The Economic Agent

1 Introduction

2 Economic Agency

3 Animal Agents

4 The Heartland of Economics

5 Behavioral Economics and Neuroeconomics: The Molar and the Molecular

6 People as Coordinating Equilibria


Ontological Issues in Evolutionary Economics




Public Choice

Introduction and Overview

1 Homo Oeconomicus Goes Politics

2 Normative Public Choice



Judgment Aggregation

1 Introduction

2 A Problem of Majority Inconsistency

3 The Basic Model of Judgment Aggregation

4 A General Impossibility Result

5 Avoiding the Impossibility

6 The Relationship to Other Aggregation Problems

7 Concluding Remarks



The Economics of Scientific Knowledge

1 The Idea of an Economics of Scientific Knowledge

2 The Optimisation Paradigm

3 Epistemic Utility Approaches

4 The Exchange Paradigm

5 Social Mechanisms for Knowledge Production



Index of Names

General Index


Part of the Handbook of the Philosophy of Science Series edited by:

Dov M. Gabbay King's College, London, UK;
Paul Thagard University of Waterloo, Canada; and
John Woods University of British Columbia, Canada.

Philosophy of Economics investigates the foundational concepts and methods of economics, the social science that analyzes the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. This groundbreaking collection, the most thorough treatment of the philosophy of economics ever published, brings together philosophers, scientists and historians to map out the central topics in the field. The articles are divided into two groups. Chapters in the first group deal with various philosophical issues characteristic of economics in general, including realism and Lakatos, explanation and testing, modeling and mathematics, political ideology and feminist epistemology. Chapters in the second group discuss particular methods, theories and branches of economics, including forecasting and measurement, econometrics and experimentation, rational choice and agency issues, game theory and social choice, behavioral economics and public choice, geographical economics and evolutionary economics, and finally the economics of scientific knowledge. This volume serves as a detailed introduction for those new to the field as well as a rich source of new insights and potential research agendas for those already engaged with the philosophy of economics.

Key Features

  • Provides a bridge between philosophy and current scientific findings
  • Encourages multi-disciplinary dialogue
  • Covers theory and applications


Researchers in all branches of the philosophy of science, as well as graduate students and senior undergraduates as well as scientists and their students who are interested in methodological issues that arise in their fields


No. of pages:
© North Holland 2012
23rd April 2012
North Holland
eBook ISBN:
Hardcover ISBN:

Ratings and Reviews

About the Series Editors

Dov M. Gabbay

Dov M. Gabbay is Augustus De Morgan Professor Emeritus of Logic at the Group of Logic, Language and Computation, Department of Computer Science, King's College London. He has authored over four hundred and fifty research papers and over thirty research monographs. He is editor of several international Journals, and many reference works and Handbooks of Logic.

Affiliations and Expertise

King's College London, UK

Paul Thagard

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Waterloo, Canada

John Woods

Affiliations and Expertise

University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

About the Series Volume Editor

Uskali Mäki