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Content and method: an epistemic perspective on some historical episodes

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  • Brian Loasby

Abstract

The double contrast between allocation and process and between formal proof and empirically based reasoning is selectively applied to the history of economics. Hume's rejection of provable knowledge led to Smith's psychological explanation of science and thence to his theory of growth through the division of labour. Marshall's cautious theorizing and cognitively based evolutionary perspective stimulated contrasting responses from Sraffa and Young. Robinson matched method to content but Chamberlin did not, and Andrews's attempt to develop a process-based price theory met more resistance than Penrose's reinvention of growth theory. We currently observe conflicting methods of handling evolution and business strategy.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian Loasby, 2002. "Content and method: an epistemic perspective on some historical episodes," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 72-95.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:eujhet:v:9:y:2002:i:1:p:72-95
    DOI: 10.1080/09672560110103397
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. R. L. Hall & C. J. Hitch, 1939. "Price Theory And Business Behaviour," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 0(1), pages 12-45.
    2. Cavalieri, Duccio, 2001. "On Some Controversial Aspects of Sraffa's Theoretical System in the Second Half of the 1920s," MPRA Paper 43737, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Foss, Nicolai J, 1999. "Edith Penrose, Economics and Strategic Management," Contributions to Political Economy, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(0), pages 87-104.
    4. Cosmides, Leda & Tooby, John, 1994. "Better than Rational: Evolutionary Psychology and the Invisible Hand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 327-332, May.
    5. Richardson, G B, 1972. "The Organisation of Industry," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 82(327), pages 883-896, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Menudo, Jose M., 2011. "Market Stability in Adam Smith: Competitive Process and Institutions," MPRA Paper 15361, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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