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
Date Written: July 2, 2013
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: Suggested Citation