Economic methodology, 1935-55: from realism to positivism-instrumentalism.

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dc.contributor.advisor Endres, Tony en
dc.contributor.advisor Jackson, Ken en
dc.contributor.author Maclean, Gillis en
dc.date.accessioned 2007-07-09T11:57:37Z en
dc.date.available 2007-07-09T11:57:37Z en
dc.date.issued 1997 en
dc.identifier THESIS 98-077 en
dc.identifier.citation Thesis (PhD--Economics)--University of Auckland, 1997 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/732 en
dc.description Full text is available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland only. en
dc.description.abstract Economic Methodology, 1935 to 1955: from Realism to Positivism-Instrumentalism. This history of microeconomic methodology describes the programs of Robbins, Hutchison, Friedman and Machlup to show the continuities and changes 1935-55 with reference to the evolution of the contemporary philosophy of science. Robbins represents the prevailing realist neoclassical orthodoxy, the target of two radical positivist challenges: from Hutchison's logical positivism and then Friedman’s and Machlup's logical empiricism. The latter criticise aspects of Hutchison’s program, defending marginal analysis and the use of abstract theory. While this superficially appears to defend Robbins's methodology, Friedman and Machlup are positivist-instrumentalists like Hutchison and repudiate orthodoxy just as thoroughly. After Hutchison positivism evolves rather than disappears. At the end of this period the outward form of Robbins's theory has been restored but its substance is radically altered. A new reading of this history results. A historiographical research program - a framework for criticism and historiography – is developed for economic methodology as an extension of Popper's world 3 view of knowledge and situational analysis. The concepts of methodological programs and methodological dimensions are introduced. Six critical methodological problems characterise and explain this history. (l) realism-instrumentalism: are theories descriptive or instrumental? (2) apriorism-positivism: is reason and/or introspection a source of economic knowledge or is empirical experience the only source? (3) subjectivism-behaviourism: does understanding economic behaviour require a first-person or third-person perspective? (4) is the function of empirical testing to verify, fatsify or check applicability? (5) indirect-direct testability: can fundamental assumptions be independently empirically tested? (6) is an inductive method appropriate for economics? Solutions to these problems represent the epistemic commitments which characterise the four economists’ programs and explain the course of this history of methodology. A rational explanation for this history is thus provided. Each methodological program can be reconstructed as a rational response to a world 3 (objective) problem situation. This generates an “internal” history. There is no need to search for explanations based on external factors or world 2 (non-rational) ideas, and in particular Anti-Methodology. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA9969921614002091 en
dc.rights Restricted Item. Available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland. en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.title Economic methodology, 1935-55: from realism to positivism-instrumentalism. en
dc.type Thesis en
thesis.degree.discipline Economics en
thesis.degree.grantor The University of Auckland en
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en
thesis.degree.name PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en


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