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L'analytique et le synthétique en économie

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  • Philippe Mongin

Abstract

This article applies to microeconomics a classic distinction of the philosophy of language, i.e., that between analytical and synthetic propositions. A further article will combine it with the epistemological distinction between a priori and a posteriori knowledge. We start by reconsidering the main definitions of the analytical and the synthetic. We rebut Quine’s famous objections against them, and then show how they operate on the theory of Giffen goods and substitute goods. The distinction makes it possible to clarify decisions that microeconomists leave implicit, at the risk of falling into semantic traps. In the particular instance, it reinforces the existing critique of Hicks’s definition of substitutes. As an secondary contribution, we show that economic methodology wrongly identifies analytical propositions with tautologies, and synthetic propositions with testable ones.

Suggested Citation

  • Philippe Mongin, 2006. "L'analytique et le synthétique en économie," Recherches économiques de Louvain, De Boeck Université, vol. 72(4), pages 349-383.
  • Handle: RePEc:cai:reldbu:rel_724_0349
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Vandermeulen, Daniel C, 1972. "Upward Sloping Demand Curves Without the Giffen Paradox," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(3), pages 453-458, June.
    2. M. Browning & P. A. Chiappori, 1998. "Efficient Intra-Household Allocations: A General Characterization and Empirical Tests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(6), pages 1241-1278, November.
    3. Battalio, Raymond C & Kagel, John H & Kogut, Carl A, 1991. "Experimental Confirmation of the Existence of a Giffen Good," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 961-970, September.
    4. Philippe Mongin, 2006. "Value Judgments and Value Neutrality in Economics," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 73(290), pages 257-286, May.
    5. Patinkin, Don, 1969. "The Chicago Tradition, the Quantity Theory, and Friedman," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 46-70, February.
    6. Hicks, J. R., 1986. "A Revision of Demand Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198285502.
    7. Deaton,Angus & Muellbauer,John, 1980. "Economics and Consumer Behavior," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521296762, May.
    8. Richard G. Lipsey & Gideon Rosenbluth, 1971. "A Contribution to the New Theory of Demand: A Rehabilitation of the Giffen Good," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 4(2), pages 131-163, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schinckus, Christophe, 2010. "Is econophysics a new discipline? The neopositivist argument," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 389(18), pages 3814-3821.
    2. Schinckus, Christophe, 2015. "Positivism in finance and its implication for the diversification finance research," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 103-106.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B21 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Microeconomics
    • B22 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Macroeconomics
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory

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