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Is "mathematical science" an oxymoron when used to describe economics?


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  • Paul Davidson


This paper interprets Weintraub's book, How Economics Became a Mathematical Science , to suggest why Keynes's General Theory has never had any real impact on the theories and models proposed by rigorous mainstream economic theorists. What is meant by "rigor" and "proof" in mathematical analysis? Mathematicians' and economists' views about these concepts keep changing. Debreu taught economists about axiomatics, formalism, and rigor as the Bourbaki mathematicians reconstructed the meaning of these terms. As a result, mainstream economic theory has lost any connection with the real world. Weintraub's analysis shows that the mathematical scientist emperor of mainstream economics is without clothes.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by M.E. Sharpe, Inc. in its journal Journal of Post Keynesian Economics.

Volume (Year): 25 (2003)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
Pages: 527-545

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Handle: RePEc:mes:postke:v:25:y:2003:i:4:p:527-545

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Cited by:
  1. Miguel A. DurĂ¡n, 2005. "Mathematical needs and economic interpretations," ThE Papers 05/07, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
  2. Clifford Poirot & Samuel Pavel, 2008. "The State, Public Policy and Heterodox Economics: An Introduction," Forum for Social Economics, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 1-12, May.


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