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Lawson on Veblen on Social Ontology

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  • Davis, John B.

    () (Department of Economics Marquette University)

Abstract

This paper discusses Lawson’s use of Veblen’s concept of ‘neoclassical economics’ and argument that the category of neoclassical economics should be jettisoned on the grounds that it obfuscates effective critique of mainstream economics. The paper links Lawson’s critique of closed systems and Veblen’s cumulative causation view by offering a reflexivity, feedback loop formulation of the latter aimed at overcoming the pre-Socratic dichotomy between Heraclitian and Parmenidean ontological thinking. The paper then reviews what this implies for three key social ontology doctrines: social reality as processual and highly transient; emergence and the appearance of novelty; the internal relatedness of social reality. Final remarks address the use of the ‘neoclassical economics’ concept.

Suggested Citation

  • Davis, John B., 2015. "Lawson on Veblen on Social Ontology," Working Papers and Research 2015-03, Marquette University, Center for Global and Economic Studies and Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mrq:wpaper:2015-03
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    File URL: http://epublications.marquette.edu/econ_workingpapers/50
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
    2. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2002. "Identity and Schooling: Some Lessons for the Economics of Education," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1167-1201, December.
    3. Alan Kirman, 2006. "Demand Theory and General Equilibrium: From Explanation to Introspection, a Journey down the Wrong Road," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 38(5), pages 246-280, Supplemen.
    4. Alan P. Kirman, 1992. "Whom or What Does the Representative Individual Represent?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 117-136, Spring.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Smith, 2012. "Reputation, Social Identity and Social Conflict," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 14(4), pages 677-709, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    neoclassical economics; Veblen; Lawson; closed systems; cumulative causation; reflexivity;

    JEL classification:

    • B13 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Neoclassical through 1925 (Austrian, Marshallian, Walrasian, Wicksellian)
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary

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