There is an embarrassing polarization of opinions about the status of economics as an academic discipline, as reflected in epithets such as the Dismal Science and the Queen of the Social Sciences. This collection brings together some of the leading figures in the methodology and philosophy of economics to provide a thoughtful and balanced overview of the current state of debate about the nature and limits of economic knowledge. Authors with partly rival and partly complementary perspectives examine how abstract models work and how they might connect with the real world, they look at the special nature of the facts about the economy, and they direct attention towards the academic institutions themselves and how they shape economic research. These issues are thus analysed from the point of view of methodology, semantics, ontology, rhetoric, sociology, and economics of science.
• Brings together most of world's leading experts on economic methodology and philosophy • Presents a balanced overview with both sides of debate • Accessible and non-technical
Part I. Introduction: 1. The dismal queen of the social sciences Uskali Mäki; Part II. Setting the Scene: 2. Ugly currents in modern economics Mark Blaug; 3. Modern economics and its critics Partha Dasgupta; 4. Some non-reasons for non-realism about economics Uskali Mäki; Part III. Economic Theory and Economic Reality: 5. Credible worlds: the status of theoretical models in economics Robert Sugden; 6. Models, stories and the economic world Mary Morgan; 7. The limits of causal order, from economics to physics Nancy Cartwright; 8. Econometrics and reality Kevin Hoover; 9. Economic models and reality: the role of informal scientific methods Roger Backhouse; 10. Truthlikeness and economic theories Ilkka Niiniluoto; Part IV. The Constitution of Economic Reality: 11. Rational choice, functional selection and empty black boxes Philip Pettit; 12. The reality of common cultures Shaun Hargreaves Heap; 13. Collective acceptance and collective attitudes: on the social construction of social reality Raimo Tuomela and Wolfgang Balzer; 14. Putting evidence in its place: John Mill's early struggles with 'facts in concrete' Neil DeMarchi; 15. Hayek and cultural evolution Bruce Caldwell; Part V. The Institutions of Economics: 16. You shouldn't want a realism if you have a rhetoric Deirdre McCloskey; 17. The more things change, the more they stay the same: social realism in contemporary science studies Wade Hands; 18. Economists: truth-seekers or rent-seekers Jesus Zamora Bonilla.