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Rhetoric vs Realism in Economic Methodology: A Critical Assessment of Recent Contributions


  • Peter, Fabienne


This paper reviews the relatively new debate on rhetoric and realism in economic methodology, concentrating on its main exponents: Deirdre McCloskey on the side of rhetoric, Tony Lawson as the advocate of critical realism, and Uskali Maki, arguing for a combination of rhetoric and realism. The review highlights a blind spot in the debate, namely the opportunity to rethink critically the project of epistemology. Copyright 2001 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter, Fabienne, 2001. "Rhetoric vs Realism in Economic Methodology: A Critical Assessment of Recent Contributions," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(5), pages 571-589, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:25:y:2001:i:5:p:571-89

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Avi J. Cohen, 2003. "Retrospectives: Whatever Happened to the Cambridge Capital Theory Controversies?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 199-214, Winter.
    2. Wibe, Soren A, 1984. "Engineering Production Functions: A Survey," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 51(204), pages 401-411, November.
    3. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2000. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," NBER Working Papers 7819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Olley, G Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 1996. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1263-1297, November.
    5. Richard Blundell & Stephen Bond, 2000. "GMM Estimation with persistent panel data: an application to production functions," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 321-340.
    6. Simon, Herbert A, 1979. "Rational Decision Making in Business Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(4), pages 493-513, September.
    7. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
    8. Simon, Herbert A, 1979. " On Parsimonious Explanations of Production Relations," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 81(4), pages 459-474.
    9. Jesus Felipe & Franklin M. Fisher, 2003. "Aggregation in Production Functions: What Applied Economists should Know," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2-3), pages 208-262, May.
    10. Samuelson, Paul A, 1979. "Paul Douglas's Measurement of Production Functions and Marginal Productivities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 923-939, October.
    11. Haijime Katayama & Shihua Lu & James Tybout, 2003. "Why Plant-Level Productivity Studies are Often Misleading, and an Alternative Approach to Interference," NBER Working Papers 9617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Shaikh, Anwar, 1974. "Laws of Production and Laws of Algebra: The Humbug Production Function," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 56(1), pages 115-120, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lukáš Kovanda, 2010. "Kritický realismus: ontologická báze postkeynesovské ekonomie
      [Critical Realism as an Ontological Basis of Post-Keynesianism]
      ," Politická ekonomie, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2010(5), pages 608-622.
    2. Fulvio Castellacci, 2006. "A critical realist interpretation of evolutionary growth theorising," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(6), pages 861-880, November.
    3. Cerulli Giovanni, 2005. "Ottimizzazione versus Razionalità Procedurale: un'analisi del dibattito sulla natura della scelta razionale in economia," CESMEP Working Papers 200501, University of Turin.

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