On Psyching up Economics

Part of the Recent Economic Thought Series book series (RETH, volume 13)


If an “internalist” account of the development of economic thought is adopted, empirical anomalies and logical inconsistencies mark the points at which existing theories are modified or new theories emerge. At the time of mutation or birth there are no signposts dictating the avenues along which economic theories must develop. The Duhem-Quine thesis, in its weaker form, points out that there is not any sure way of knowing which of the axioms, lemmas, initial conditions, boundary conditions, measurement specifications, hypotheses, and so on which constitute a particular theory are to blame when a fault is detected: the content of the theory arises from the juxtaposition of the aforementioned ingredients, and while there might be a tendency to blame individual players, it is the team that has lost and no one can be sure that a particular positional change would have led to a different result. At various times when faults have been detected in economic theories it has been suggested that economists look beyond the bounds of their subject, narrowly defined, when modifiying existing theories or producing new ones: the team performance might improve if players from biology, physics, politics, psychology, social anthropology, sociology, and so on were to be introduced.


Rational Behavior Psychological Theory Expect Utility Theory Neoclassical Economic Neoclassical Theory 
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© Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston 1988

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