A Countercultural Methodology: Caldwell's Beyond Positivism at Thirty-Five
The Center for the History of Political Economy Working Paper Series No. 2017-13
15 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2017 Last revised: 3 Oct 2017
Date Written: August 8, 2017
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: Suggested Citation