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Economics, Sociology, History: Notes on Their Loss of Unity, Their Need for Re-integration and the Current Relevance of the Controversy between Carl Menger and Gustav Schmoller

  • Dieter Bögenhold


We are experiencing a situation of increasing criticism of the state in which economics is being represented nowadays. One of the remarks is that economics has become too formalized and too abstract and that the state of discipline has become increasingly unable to express many phenomena of “real life” with its concrete socioeconomic specifica. Criticism has found a way to get cumulated in different terms of economic pluralism. The claim for fostering interdisciplinary research which we also find nowadays reflects the diagnosis that our islands of shared knowledge have become too fragmented. When reflecting what is going on in recent times a view back to the end of the nineteenth century may help to contextualize recent debate. Looking at the debate between Carl Menger and Gustav Schmoller which was later classified as the first battles in social sciences helps to sort up arguments which are still on the agenda, inductive versus deductive methods or empirism versus abstract theorizing.

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Article provided by Springer & The Association for Social Economics in its journal Forum for Social Economics.

Volume (Year): 37 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (August)
Pages: 85-101

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Handle: RePEc:spr:fosoec:v:37:y:2008:i:2:p:85-101
DOI: 10.1007/s12143-007-9005-2
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  2. Fogel, Robert W, 1994. "Economic Growth, Population Theory, and Physiology: The Bearing of Long-Term Processes on the Making of Economic Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 369-95, June.
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  7. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," NBER Working Papers 8460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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