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What’s the Point of Ceteris Paribus? or, How to Understand Supply and Demand Curves

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022


Philosophers sometimes claim that economics, and the idealizing strategies it employs, is ultimately unable to provide genuine laws of nature. Therefore, unlike physics, it does not qualify as an actual science. Careful consideration of thermodynamics, a well-developed physical theory, reveals substantial parallels with economic methodology. The corrective account of scientific understanding I offer appreciates these parallels: understanding in terms of efficient performance.

Research Article
Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association

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I am especially grateful for extensive feedback from Robert Batterman, Rade Radjenovich, Jim Weatherall, Jim Woodward, Mark Wilson, and several anonymous referees.


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