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Notes and Communications: Between Absolutism and Relativism: The Economist's Search for a Middle Ground

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  • Andrew W. Foshee
  • Will C. Heath
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    Abstract

    Clarence Ayres wished to avoid moral relativism or agnosticism in the social sciences, yet he also rejected what he called the “transcendental” epistemology of classical philosophy, an epistemology grounded in the desire to know absolute or ultimate truths. He wanted to find a middle ground between absolutism and relativism by separating “technology” from “ceremony,” and by replacing the ends/means >i>dichotomy>/i> with an ends/means >i>continuum>/i>. This paper examines his articulation of the issues, and in this context also examines the work of two more recent theorists, Gary Becker and Richard Posner. We conclude that Ayres' epistemological middle ground remains elusive.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by M.E. Sharpe, Inc. in its journal Journal of Economic Issues.

    Volume (Year): 44 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 3 (September)
    Pages: 819-829

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    Handle: RePEc:mes:jeciss:v:44:y:2010:i:3:p:819-829

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    Web page: http://www.mesharpe.com/mall/results1.asp?acr=jei

    Related research

    Keywords: Ayres; Becker; institutional economics; Posner;

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