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Reflexivity: curse or cure?

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  • John Davis
  • Matthias Klaes

Abstract

Reflexivity has been argued to be self-defeating and potentially devastating for the sociology of scientific knowledge. We first survey various meanings associated with the concept of reflexivity and then provide an interpretation of Velazquez's Las Meninas to generate a three-part taxonomy of reflexivity, distinguishing between 'immanent', 'epistemic' and 'transcendent' reflexivity. This provides the basis for engaging with reflexivity as a problem in the economic methodology literature, focusing on recent contributions to the topic by Hands, Sent, Maki and Mirowski. Employment of our taxonomy clarifies the similarities and differences between the various forms of reflexivity that can be identified or are addressed in these contributions. Our main argument is that a successful response to the malign aspects of reflexivity requires a simultaneous consideration of various levels of reflexivity and relies on social-historical perspectives.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Economic Methodology.

Volume (Year): 10 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 329-352

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:10:y:2003:i:3:p:329-352

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Related research

Keywords: economic methodology; reflexivity; self-reference; SSK;

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Cited by:
  1. John Davis & Matthias Klaes, 2006. "Imprecise precision: Rejoinder to Basb´┐Żll," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(1), pages 121-123.
  2. Lehmann-Waffenschmidt, Marco & Sandri, Serena, 2007. "Recursivity and Self-Referentiality of Economic Theories and Their Implications for Bounded Rational Actors," Dresden Discussion Paper Series in Economics 03/07, Dresden University of Technology, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Economics.
  3. Dolfsma, W.A. & McMaster, R. & Finch, J., 2005. "Institutions, Institutional Change, Language, and Searle," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2005-067-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus Uni.
  4. John B. Davis, 2003. "The Conception of the Individual in Non-Cooperative Game Theory," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 03-095/2, Tinbergen Institute.
  5. John B. Davis, 2003. "The Conception of the Individual in Non-Cooperative Game Theory," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 03-095/2, Tinbergen Institute.

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