Is Economics a Natural Science?

Social Research, Vol. 71, No. 2, pp. 211-222, Summer 2004

13 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2006

See all articles by Julie A. Nelson

Julie A. Nelson

University of Massachusetts at Boston - Department of Economics; Tufts University - Global Development and Environment Institute

Abstract

Advocates of a more socially responsible discipline of economics often emphasize the purposive and unpredictable nature of human economic behavior, contrasting this to the presumably deterministic behavior of natural forces. This essay argues that such a distinction between "social" and "natural" sciences is in fact counterproductive, especially when issues of ecological sustainability are concerned. What is needed instead is a better notion of science-"science-with-wonder"- which grounds serious science in relational, non-Newtonian thinking.

Keywords: economics, science, ecology, responsibility

JEL Classification: A12,A13

Suggested Citation

Nelson, Julie A., Is Economics a Natural Science?. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=874831

Julie A. Nelson (Contact Author)

University of Massachusetts at Boston - Department of Economics ( email )

100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.umb.edu/academics/cla/dept/economics/faculty/facultyNelson.html

Tufts University - Global Development and Environment Institute ( email )

MA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.ase.tufts.edu/gdae/about_us/researchers.html#nelson

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