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Comparing responses to critical realism

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  • Siobhan Austen
  • Therese Jefferson

Abstract

This article is a study of the response of two heterodox schools of economic thought to 'new' philosophical ideas. Specifically, it considers the response within Post Keynesian and feminist economics to Tony Lawson's recent call for economists to pay greater attention to ontology and for economists to adopt research methods consistent with critical realism. Lawson's arguments were formally introduced to these schools over the space of a few years and continue to generate considerable discussion within their ranks. The focus of analysis in this article is on the debate about Lawson's ideas published in the leading journals associated with two schools of thought: The Journal of Post Keynesian Economics and Feminist Economics. The article contrasts the reception Lawson's ideas received in each of the two journals and suggests some reasons for these differences. It argues that some barriers to the adoption of new ideas exist in each school of thought and that this has implications for the direction and content of economic thought in heterodox schools.

Suggested Citation

  • Siobhan Austen & Therese Jefferson, 2006. "Comparing responses to critical realism," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(2), pages 257-282.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:13:y:2006:i:2:p:257-282
    DOI: 10.1080/13501780600733301
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tony Lawson, 1999. "Feminism, Realism, and Universalism," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(2), pages 25-59.
    2. Frederic S. Lee, 2002. "Theory creation and the methodological foundation of Post Keynesian economics," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 26(6), pages 789-804, November.
    3. Julie Nelson, 2003. "Once More, With Feeling: Feminist Economics and the Ontological Question," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 109-118.
    4. Tony Lawson, 2003. "Theorizing Ontology," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 161-169.
    5. Roy J. Rotheim, 1999. "Post Keynesian Economics and Realist Philosophy," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(1), pages 71-103, September.
    6. Stephen D. Parsons, 1996. "Post Keynesian Realism and Keynes’ General Theory," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(3), pages 419-441, March.
    7. Tony Lawson, 1994. "The Nature of Post Keynesianism and Its Links to Other Traditions," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 164-164, September.
    8. Paul Davidson, 1994. "Post Keynesian Macroeconomic Theory," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 124.
    9. Paul Davidson, 1999. "Taxonomy, Communication, and Rhetorical Strategy," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(1), pages 125-129, September.
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    11. Paul Lewis & Jochen Runde, 1999. "A Critical Realist Perspective on Paul Davidson’s Methodological Writings On—And Rhetorical Strategy For—Post Keynesian Economics," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(1), pages 35-56, September.
    12. Sheila C. Dow, 2002. "Historical reference: Hume and critical realism," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 26(6), pages 683-695, November.
    13. Tony Lawson, 1994. "The Nature of Post Keynesianism and Its Links to Other Traditions: A Realist Perspective," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 503-538, July.
    14. Julie A. Nelson, 2003. "Confronting the science-value split: notes on feminist economics, institutionalism, pragmatism and process thought," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 27(1), pages 49-64, January.
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    16. Nitasha Kaul, 2002. "A critical 'post' to critical realism," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 26(6), pages 709-726, November.
    17. Fabienne Peter, 2003. "Critical Realism, Feminist Epistemology, and the Emancipatory Potential of Science: A Comment on Lawson and Harding," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 93-101.
    18. J. E. King, 1995. "Post Keynesian Economics," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 722.
    19. Sandra Harding, 2003. "Representing Reality: The Critical Realism Project," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 151-159.
    20. Paul Downward & John H. Finch & John Ramsay, 2002. "Critical realism, empirical methods and inference: a critical discussion," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 26(4), pages 481-500, July.
    21. Drucilla Barker, 2003. "Emancipatory for Whom? A Comment on Critical Realism," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 103-108.
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    23. Paul Davidson, 1996. "Reality and Economic Theory," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(4), pages 479-508, July.
    24. Sandra Harding, 1999. "The Case For Strategic Realism: A Response To Lawson," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 127-133.
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