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Reason and Reality in the Methodologies of Economics
An Introduction. Advances in Economic Methodology Series
This highly original new book examines the scientific status of economics from the perspective of practising economists. It studies how they evaluate their theories, the relationship between those theories and the phenomena they are intended to represent, and the philosophy, methodology and scientific credentials of economics. It examines the tension between economics as the logic of rational choice and as a predictive science, that is reason and reality respectively. It surveys the five most influential schools of thought in the methodology of economics, with special emphasis on theory appraisal: logical positivism, instrumentalism, a priorism, scientific realism and rhetorical analysis. Professor Fox assesses the extent to which economists have followed the precepts and consequences of their methodological position. He extends the discussion to consider the purpose of such economic inquiry, the scope of application and the appropriate structure of economic theory, as the legitimate sources of economic knowledge.
In conclusion he argues that a resolution of existing and emerging methodological controversies in economics must begin with a better understanding of the various voices within the discipline. Intended as an introduction to the major schools of thought in economics, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of economics, philosophy and economic methodology.
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'Economists are producers of economic knowledge. But what is the relation of that knowledge to the object of inquiry and to the mode of analysis? The status of a statement of knowledge depends on the positions economists accept in such matters. But economists have quite different perceptions of