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Paradigms and pluralism in heterodox economics

  • Robert Garnett
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    This paper seeks to reconcile two competing visions of heterodox economics: a radical Kuhnian view in which the chief aim of heterodox economists is to construct a unique, superior, and ultimately hegemonic paradigm to replace the prevailing paradigm(s) of mainstream economics, and an emerging pluralist view in which the principal goal of heterodox economics is to promote intellectual tolerance and exchange among academic economists at large. The author claims that leading heterodox economists (some of whom profess to be pluralists) remain committed to the paradigmist approach, but that heterodox economists would be better served by a freedom-centered synthesis of paradigmism and pluralism: an egalitarian pluralism that is committed to intellectual diversity as well as to capabilities-enhancing reforms in economic education, scholarship, and professional development. The author outlines a philosophical framework and justification for this egalitarian pluralist economics, combining McCloskey's vision of science as a pluralistic conversation with Sen's capability-centered view of human development.

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    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Review of Political Economy.

    Volume (Year): 18 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 521-546

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:revpoe:v:18:y:2006:i:4:p:521-546
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    1. David Colander & Richard Holt & Barkley Rosser, 2004. "The changing face of mainstream economics," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 485-499.
    2. Rutherford, Malcolm, 2000. "The Prospects of Heterodox Economics: a Comment," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(02), pages 185-188, June.
    3. Michael Zweig, 1971. "Bourgeois and Radical Paradigms in Economics," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 3(2), pages 43-58, July.
    4. David Colander, 2002. "The Death of Neoclassical Economics," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0237, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
    5. Goodwin, Craufurd D., 2000. "Comment: It's the Homogeneity, Stupid!," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(02), pages 179-183, June.
    6. Davis, John B., 2002. "The Emperor's Clothes," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(02), pages 141-154, June.
    7. Sargent, Thomas J & Wallace, Neil, 1975. ""Rational" Expectations, the Optimal Monetary Instrument, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(2), pages 241-54, April.
    8. Frederic Lee & Steve Keen, 2004. "The Incoherent Emperor: A Heterodox Critique of Neoclassical Microeconomic Theory," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 62(2), pages 169-199.
    9. Geoffrey Hodgson, 2002. "Visions of Mainstream Economics: A Response to Richard Nelson and Jack Vromen," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 60(1), pages 125-133.
    10. Backhouse, Roger E., 2000. "Progress in Heterodox Economics," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(02), pages 149-155, June.
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