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Galilean Reflections on Milton Friedman's 'Methodology of Positive Economics', with Thoughts on Vernon Smith's 'Economics in the Laboratory'

Philosophy of the Social Sciences, Vol. 35, No. 1, pp. 50-74, March 2005

13 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2009  

Eric S. Schliesser

Ghent University

Date Written: 2005

Abstract

In this article, the author offers a discussion of the evidential role of the Galilean constant in the history of physics. The author argues that measurable constants help theories constrain data. Theories are engines for research, and this helps explain why the Duhem-Quine thesis does not undermine scientific practice. The author connects his argument to discussion of two famous papers in the history of economic methodology, Milton Friedman's 'Methodology of Positive Economics', which appealed to example of Galilean Law of Fall in its argument; and Vernon Smith's 'Economics in the Laboratory'. While the author offers some criticism of Friedman and Smith, most of the article is a friendly reinterpretation of their insights.

Keywords: Milton Friedman, Vernon Smith, economic methodology, Duhem-Quine thesis, scientific evidence

JEL Classification: A12, B2, B3, B41, C, C9

Suggested Citation

Schliesser, Eric S., Galilean Reflections on Milton Friedman's 'Methodology of Positive Economics', with Thoughts on Vernon Smith's 'Economics in the Laboratory' (2005). Philosophy of the Social Sciences, Vol. 35, No. 1, pp. 50-74, March 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=958259

Eric S. Schliesser (Contact Author)

Ghent University ( email )

Philosophy and Moral Sciences
Blandijnberg 2
Ghent, 9000
Belgium

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