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Economics as Plausible Conjecture

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  • Michael H. Turk
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    Abstract

    The examination of economics from the standpoint of language and literature, part of the “linguistic turn” in economic methodology, may be extended and inverted by setting the literary elements of economics in historical perspective. In so doing, it will emerge that in the formative period of classical economics, when the line between the literary and the scientific was blurred, there was an affinity between economics and new forms of literature, especially the novel, that helped shape the characteristic method of economics as “plausible conjecture.” Through plausible conjecture, fictions, as thought-experiments or models, are used to capture and depict essential elements of economic reality. This approach is evident in the work of François Quesnay and central to that of Adam Smith, setting the mold for later economic thinkers.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Duke University Press in its journal History of Political Economy.

    Volume (Year): 42 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 3 (Fall)
    Pages: 521-546

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    Handle: RePEc:hop:hopeec:v:42:y:2010:i:3:p:521-546

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    Keywords: François Quesnay; Adam Smith;

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