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Criticizing the critique. Some methodological insights into the debate on the state of economic theory in the face of the post 2008 crisis

Listed author(s):
  • Łukasz Hardt


    (University of Warsaw, Faculty of Economic Sciences
    Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute of Economics)

The aim of this paper is to investigate the current debate on the state of economics from a methodological perspective. We claim that the majority of contributions criticizing modern economics are not based on clear methodological principles and thus many of them are not correct. We show this with respect to such issues as the problem of realisticness of models and their assumptions, the role of mathematics in economics, the way we conceptualize the relation between economics (theory) and economy (empiria), as well as the general problem of comparing theories. In doing so we use the research apparatus taken form the philosophy of science and also we benefit a lot from recent developments in the philosophy of economics. Finally, we show one of the paradoxes of that debate, namely that many critics of economics accuse economists of using the wrong language (mathematics) while they do not use proper language themselves while criticizing economics, namely the apparatus taken from the philosophy of science.

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Article provided by Narodowy Bank Polski in its journal Bank i Kredyt.

Volume (Year): 41 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 7-22

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Handle: RePEc:nbp:nbpbik:v:41:y:2010:i:4:p:7-22
Note: Some parts of this work were written while I was a visitor at the Trends and Tensions in Intellectual Integration (TINT) project at the University of Helsinki. I am grateful for their hospitality and stimulating discussions; particularly I would like to thank Uskali Mäki for his insightful comments and encouragements. Also I would like to thank Juliusz Jabłecki for his remarks on the debate on the financial crisis. I would like to thank two anonymous referees for their comments which significantly helped to improve the paper. This research was partially financed by a research grant from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education (grant no. N N112 127936).
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