Friedman’s Methodology: A Puzzle and A Proposal for Generating Useful Debates through Causal Comparisons (with a postscript on positive vs. normative theories)
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 7458.
Date of creation: Mar 2008
Date of revision: Mar 2008
Positive economics; normative economics; prediction; realism; scientific realism; causal comparisons; causal depth;
Other versions of this item:
- Khan, Haider A., 2008. "Friedman’s Methodology: A Puzzle and A Proposal for Generating Useful Debates through Causal Comparisons (with a postscript on positive vs. normative theories)," MPRA Paper 7457, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Mar 2008.
- A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
- B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-03-08 (All new papers)
- NEP-HPE-2008-03-08 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-PKE-2008-03-08 (Post Keynesian Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Hoover, Kevin D., 2004.
"Milton Friedman's Stance: The Methodology of Causal Realism,"
06-6, University of California at Davis, Department of Economics.
- Kevin Hoover, 2004. "Milton Friedman’s Stance: The Methodology of Causal Realism," Working Papers 66, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
- Mejía Cubillos, Javier, 2012.
"Ética y Justicia. Reflexiones a partir de The Idea of Justice de Amartya Sen
[Ethics and justice. Reflections on The Idea of Justice by Amartya Sen]," MPRA Paper 37458, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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