Slaves of the Defunct: The Epistemic Intractability of the Hayek-Keynes Debate

Journal of Economic Methodology, 2015

38 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2013 Last revised: 19 Dec 2018

See all articles by Scott Scheall

Scott Scheall

Arizona State University, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, Faculty of Social Science; Arizona State University (ASU) - Center for the Study of Economic Liberty

Date Written: July 2, 2013

Abstract

The present essay addresses the epistemic difficulties involved in achieving consensus with respect to the Hayek-Keynes debate. It is argued that the debate cannot be settled on the basis of the observable evidence; or, more precisely, that the empirical implications of the relevant theories are such that, regardless of what is observed, both theories can be interpreted as true, or at least, as not falsified. Regardless of the evidence, both Hayek and Keynes can be interpreted as right. The essay explicates the respects in which the empirical evidence under-determines the choice between the relevant theories. In particular, it is argued both that there are convenient responses one can offer that protect each theory from what appears to be threatening evidence and that, for particular kinds of evidence, the two theories are empirically equivalent.

Keywords: Hayek, Keynes, under-determination, business cycle theory, macroeconomics, Austrian economics, Keynesian economics

JEL Classification: A11, A13, A14, B00, B2, B22, B29, B3, B31, B4, B40, B41,E12, E17, E3, E32, E5, E58, E6, Z00

Suggested Citation

Scheall, Scott, Slaves of the Defunct: The Epistemic Intractability of the Hayek-Keynes Debate (July 2, 2013). Journal of Economic Methodology, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2291752 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2291752

Scott Scheall (Contact Author)

Arizona State University, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, Faculty of Social Science ( email )

7001 E. Williams Field Rd.
Mesa, AZ 85212
United States

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

United States

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