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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Freeman, Alan & Kliman, Andrew, 2005. "Beyond talking the talk: towards a critical pluralist practice," MPRA Paper 48644, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 07 Nov 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:48644

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Reder, Melvin W, 1982. "Chicago Economics: Permanence and Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 1-38, March.
    2. Sheila C. Dow, 1996. "The Methodology of Macroeconomic Thought," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 933.
    3. Duncan K. Foley, 1982. "The Value of Money the Value of Labor Power and the Marxian Transformation Problem," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 14(2), pages 37-47, June.
    4. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Skott, 2012. "Pluralism, the Lucas critique, and the integration of macro and micro," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2012-04, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    2. Robert Garnett, 2011. "Pluralism, Academic Freedom, and Heterodox Economics," Working Papers 201107, Texas Christian University, Department of Economics.
    3. Freeman, Alan, 1991. "Why Quantitative Marxism?," MPRA Paper 52795, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 05 Feb 1991.
    4. Arne HEISE, 2016. "‘Why has economics turned out this way?’ A socio-economic note on the explanation of monism in economics," The Journal of Philosophical Economics, Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, The Journal of Philosophical Economics, vol. 10(1), pages 81-101, November.

    More about this item


    Pluralism; IWGVT; Economics;

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • B4 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology
    • B5 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches


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