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
Date Written: 2004
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
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