Conjectural Revisionary Economic Ontology: Outline of an Ambitious Research Agenda for Evolutionary Economics

Journal of Economic Methodology, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 213-247, 2004

Posted: 13 Nov 2010

See all articles by Jack J. Vromen

Jack J. Vromen

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Faculty of Philosophy, Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics (EIPE)

Date Written: 2004

Abstract

Although it is laudable that evolutionary economists have a greater concern for ontological issues than many of their brethren, considerations concerning ontology cannot play a decisive role in adjudicating theoretical disputes. Attempts to formulate an appropriate ontology for evolutionary economics, different from the one prevailing in standard economic theory, are better viewed as exercises in conjectural revisionary ontology. Ideally they offer useful heuristics for fruitful further theorizing. Furthermore, issues raised in connection with ontology that previously were treated as if they are one and the same are here categorized into three clusters. The categorization is used to dispel worries that have haunted evolutionary economics right from its inception. It is shown in particular that the belief that there are significant Darwinian evolutionary processes going on in present-day capitalist economies does not imply the denial of genuine agency or the endorsement of dubious doctrines such as biological reductionism.

Keywords: evolutionary economics, ontology, Darwinism, biological reductionism, agency

JEL Classification: A12, B40, B41, B52

Suggested Citation

Vromen, Jack J., Conjectural Revisionary Economic Ontology: Outline of an Ambitious Research Agenda for Evolutionary Economics (2004). Journal of Economic Methodology, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 213-247, 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1706748

Jack J. Vromen (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Faculty of Philosophy, Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics (EIPE) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
EIPE Office, Room H5-23
3000 Dr Rotterdam
Netherlands

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