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.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
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)
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- 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.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ekkehart Schlicht).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.