[IIPPE 2014] Economic Methodology
5TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE IN POLITICAL ECONOMY
“CRISIS: SCHOLARSHIP, POLICIES CONFLICTS AND ALTERNATIVES”
NAPLES, 16-18 SEPTEMBER 2014
PANEL/STREAM PROPOSAL: ECONOMIC METHODOLOGY
Over the last 30 years, there has been an extensive debate within the philosophy of science over the meaning and content of scientific activity. This debate has important implications for both natural and social sciences, including economics – and has resulted in a growing recognition of the importance of methodology in economic discourse. This interest, however, has been confined to economic methodologists and has left the economics profession and the way economists conduct their business largely unaffected.
During roughly the same period (and even before that) economics has come to be dominated by a method based on what Terence Hutchison has called “ultra deductivism” and mathematical modeling to such an extent that anything that is not modeled is considered non-economics or, even worse, non-scientific. If it is not modeled it is not economics. This is a reflection of the total lack of methodological pluralism within the economics profession dominated by an increasingly intolerant orthodoxy. How did such a state of affairs come about? Should social sciences and economics in particular follow the same method as the natural sciences? How does political economy and heterodox economics differ from mainstream economics methodologically? What types of pluralism would be tenable and viable for economic science? How has the crisis affected the way economists go about conducting their business? How can inter/cross/transdisciplinarity be applied productively in economic discourse? These are some of the questions we will try to explore in these panels on economic methodology.