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Rhetoric and Conceptual Problems in Economics: the Case of General Equilibrium Theory

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The rhetorical perspective of science claims that scientific truths are what scientists agree is true on the basis of intellectual standards socially determined by the scientific tradition. According to that perspective, models are just rhetorical arguments used by economists in order to affect beliefs of the reference scientific community. Then, looking at the economic practice, we undertake a preliminary analysis of the criteria used by economists to assess and compare economic models. In particular, we argue that economists attach a great importance to the capability of models to solve problems of conceptual type. That allows to better understand how important is the role that general equilibrium theory has had and still has in economics and to rebut some criticisms made to the theory.

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Paper provided by Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa in its series Working Papers - Economics with number wp2011_09.rdf.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:frz:wpaper:wp2011_09.rdf

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Keywords: scientific rhetoric; general equilibrium theory; economic models;

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  1. Stan du Plessis, 2006. "The miracle of the Septuagint and the promise of data mining in economics," Working Papers 15/2006, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
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