The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Scientific Realism and Ontology

  • Uskali Mäki
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-349-95189-5_2718

Abstract

This article defines the concept of realism and explores its implications for ontology, defending the idea of ontological realism and its relevance to economics, while rejecting the idea of some special ‘realist ontology’ that informs us about the ways of the real world. The main focus is on what it is for the world (its constituents, structure, and ways of functioning) to exist. Economics-relevant scientific realism suggests that much of the social world is characterized by non-causal science-independence. Implications of this are outlined for causation, social construction, economics-dependence of the economy, modelling, and truth in economics.

Keywords

Causal realism Causality in economics Granger-causality Hume, D Methodological individualism Microfoundations Mind-independence Models Neuroeconomics Normal science Ontological realism Ontology Rhetoric of economics Science-independence Scientific realism Social constructivism 

JEL Classification

B4 
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Bibliography

  1. Blaug, M. 2002. Ugly currents in modern economics. In Fact and fiction in economics. Realism models, and social construction, ed. U. Mäki. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Hacking, I. 1999. The social construction of what? Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  3. MacKenzie, D. 2006. An engine, not a camera: How financial models shape markets. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Mäki, U. 2002. Some non-reasons for non-realism about economics. In Fact and fiction in economics. Realism models, and social construction, ed. U. Mäki. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Mäki, U. 2004. Some truths about truth for economists, their critics and clients. In Economic policy-making under uncertainty: The role of truth and accountability in policy advice, ed. P. Mooslechner, H. Schuberth, and M. Schurtz. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  6. Mäki, U. 2005a. Reglobalising realism by going local, or (how) should our formulations of scientific realism be informed about the sciences. Erkenntnis 63: 231–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Mäki, U. 2005b. Models are experiments, experiments are models. J Econ Methodol 12: 303–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Richardson, G. 1960. Information and investment. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  9. Strawson, G. 1989. The secret connexion: Causation, realism, and David Hume. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Uskali Mäki
    • 1
  1. 1.