Friedman’s Methodology: A Puzzle and A Proposal for Generating Useful Debates through Causal Comparisons
AbstractMilton Friedman’s “The Methodology of Positive Economies” is still one of the most widely read pieces on economic methodology. One reason for this might be Friedman’s attractive proposal that economists use theories and hypotheses as pragmatic devices to summarize data and make predictions over the relevant range of observations. Logically, this should lead to a fair minded comparison among many contending theories. However, Friedman's actual examples and discussion of these examples raise a puzzle. The field of comparison seems unduly narrow from the beginning. In my attempt to resolve this, I consider some logical and ontological problems for Friedman's position. I end up by suggesting a scientific realist approach to testing theories by causal comparisons over a wide field of contending theories.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 7024.
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision: Jan 2008
economic methodology; Milton Friedman's methodology; logic and and ontology; causal comparisons; scientific realism;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General
- B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
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- Boland, Lawrence A, 1979. "A Critique of Friedman's Critics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 17(2), pages 503-22, June.
- Kevin Hoover, 2004. "Milton Friedmanâ€™s Stance: The Methodology of Causal Realism," Working Papers, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics 66, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
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