Realism and Relevance in the Economics of a Free Society

Journal of Economic Methodology, Forthcoming

21 Pages Posted: 28 May 2009

See all articles by Ross B. Emmett

Ross B. Emmett

Arizona State University (ASU) - Center for the Study of Economic Liberty; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Date Written: November 12, 2008

Abstract

The methodological debate between Frank Knight and Terence Hutchison is usually framed in terms of the philosophical debates between positivism and intuitionism, or between empirical knowledge and theoretical knowledge. Hutchison’s The significance and basic postulates of economic theory was, after all, a defense of the need for empirically-based economic knowledge, using the justificatory framework provided by logical positivism, and Knight was widely known for his defense of the understanding of economic theory often associated with Lionel Robbins’ Essay. But the dispute between Knight and Hutchison was much more than a battle over the epistemological status of economics’ basic postulates. For Knight, Hutchison's positivism posed risks for the discussion at the heart of liberal democracy. Hutchison, also, aimed his methodological criticism of economic theory at a similar target: the economic objectives of all societies would be achieved sooner if planners were guided by an empirical economic science.

Keywords: Frank Knight, T.W. Hutchison, economic methodology, defense of free society, liberal democratic capitalism

JEL Classification: B40, B31, B20

Suggested Citation

Emmett, Ross B., Realism and Relevance in the Economics of a Free Society (November 12, 2008). Journal of Economic Methodology, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1410803

Ross B. Emmett (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - Center for the Study of Economic Liberty ( email )

CPCOMM 4th Floor
United States

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

2048 Analysis Drive
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
83
rank
291,847
Abstract Views
466
PlumX Metrics