The American Sociologist

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 20–25 | Cite as

A rhetoric in defense of formalism in the social sciences: Comment on McCloskey

  • Peter Mueser


McCloskey’s criticism of formalism in economics and other social sciences fails to identify important arguments that justify the practices he criticizes. While it is valuable to expose accepted methods to critical examination, McCloskey’s broad attack implies the rejection of good social science as well as bad.


Economic Model Wall Street Journal Corn Yield Efficient Market Hypothesis Substantive Importance 
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  1. Dorfman, John. 1989. “Stock-Picking Pros, Beaten by Dart Throwers, Seek Redemption.”Wall Street Journal. September 6.Google Scholar
  2. Friedman, Milton. 1953. “The Methodology of Positive Economics.” In M. Friedman,Essays in Positive Economics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  3. Kuhn, Thomas. 1962.The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  4. Solow, Robert. 1970.Growth Theory: An Exposition. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Mueser
    • 1
  1. 1.economicsthe University of Missouri—ColumbiaColumbia

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