Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2013585
 
 

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Samuels on Methodological Pluralism in Economics


John B. Davis


Marquette University; University of Amsterdam; Tinbergen Institute

February 29, 2012


Abstract:     
Warren Samuels was an influential proponent of methodological pluralism in economics. This short paper discusses his understanding of methodological pluralism, and argues that it is based on three distinct components: (1) his critique of the idea that theories have epistemic foundations and his ‘matrix approach to meaningfulness,’ (2) his belief that the absence of meta-principles for science combined with our human psychology create an existential dilemma for theorists and policy-makers, and (3) his understanding of relativism, social constructivism, and ‘limited but affirmative’ defense of nihilism against the charge of skepticism. The paper closes with a brief discussion of what Samuels’ methodological pluralism might tell us about historiography and the history of economics.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 26

Keywords: Samuels, methodological pluralism, economic methodology, economics profession

JEL Classification: B23, B31, B41

working papers series


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Date posted: February 29, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Davis, John B., Samuels on Methodological Pluralism in Economics (February 29, 2012). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2013585 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2013585

Contact Information

John B. Davis (Contact Author)
Marquette University ( email )
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
United States
University of Amsterdam ( email )
Amsterdam
Netherlands
Tinbergen Institute ( email )
Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands
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