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Beyond talking the talk: towards a critical pluralist practice

  • Freeman, Alan
  • Kliman, Andrew

This is a pre-publication version of a paper that appeared in Post-Autistic Economics Review No. 40. Please cite it as Freeman, A. and Andrew Kliman. 2006. ‘Beyond Talking the Talk: Towards a Critical Pluralist Practice”. Post-autistic economics review issue no. 40, 1 December 2006, article 4, pp.26-53. This paper, initially presented at the AHE 2005 conference, was one of the earliest to argue that pluralism in economics requires formal rules of conduct to guarantee pluralism in research. These should provide for transparent and professional standards for research, presentation and editorial judgement. The guiding principle of this reform is what we term critical pluralism. There are two key ideas in this. The first is that truth, or progress towards it, arises only if empirical reality is tested against a multiplicity of theoretical explanations of that reality. Pluralism is thus not a normative or ethically desirable adjunct to science but a necessary prerequisite to producing valid knowledge. Critical pluralism would, therefore, impose on the researcher the obligation to • engage with, and critically examine, explanations alternative to her own; • clearly state the alternative presuppositions which differentiate her own explanation of observed reality from the alternatives considered; • clearly identify the evidence in support of her own conclusion • clearly identify the evidence that supports the researcher’s interpretation of the alternative views against which she tests her conclusions, in order to provide for a fair test. The article concludes with a statement of the guidelines of the International Working Group on Value Theory (IWGVT) for pluralistic writing in economics.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 48644.

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Date of creation: 20 Mar 2005
Date of revision: 07 Nov 2006
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:48644
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  1. Freeman, Alan, 2001. "The Case for Simplicity: a Paradigm for the Political Economy of the 21st Century," MPRA Paper 52723, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Apr 2001.
  2. Reder, Melvin W, 1982. "Chicago Economics: Permanence and Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 1-38, March.
  3. Sheila C. Dow, 1996. "The Methodology of Macroeconomic Thought," Books, Edward Elgar, number 933, 6.
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