A Countercultural Methodology: Caldwell's Beyond Positivism at Thirty-Five

The Center for the History of Political Economy Working Paper Series No. 2017-13

Economic Research Initiatives at Duke (ERID) Working Paper

15 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2017 Last revised: 3 Oct 2017

See all articles by Kevin D. Hoover

Kevin D. Hoover

Duke University - Departments of Economics and Philosophy

Date Written: August 8, 2017

Abstract

Caldwell’s Beyond Positivism was a key publication that helped to precipitate the consolidation of the methodology of economics into a distinct subfield within economics. Reconsidering it after thirty-five years, it is striking for its anti-naturalism (i.e., its lack of deference to the actual practices of economics) or, perhaps, for its meta-naturalism (displayed in its excessive deference to the philosophy of science) and for its defense of pluralism. It offers pluralism as an unsuccessful defense against dogmatism. Against Caldwell’s pluralism, dogmatism is better opposed by a commitment of fallibilism and scientific humility. Caldwell’s defense of Austrian methodology is taken as a case study to illustrate and investigate his key themes and the issues that they raise.

Keywords: Bruce Caldwell, economic methodology, positivism, naturalism, Austrian economics

JEL Classification: B41, B40, B53

Suggested Citation

Hoover, Kevin D., A Countercultural Methodology: Caldwell's Beyond Positivism at Thirty-Five (August 8, 2017). The Center for the History of Political Economy Working Paper Series No. 2017-13; Economic Research Initiatives at Duke (ERID) Working Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3016507 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3016507

Kevin D. Hoover (Contact Author)

Duke University - Departments of Economics and Philosophy ( email )

213 Social Sciences Building
Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

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