222 pages | 12 B/W Illus.
Economists have long grappled with the problem of how economic theories relate to empirical evidence: how can abstract mathematized theories be used to produce empirical claims? How are such theories applied to economic phenomena? What does it mean to “test” economic theories? This book introduces, explains, and develops a structural philosophy of economics which addresses these questions and provides a unifying philosophical/logical basis for a general methodology of economics.
The book begins by introducing a rigorous view of the logical foundations and structure of scientific theories based upon the work of Alfred Tarski, Patrick Suppes, Karl Marx, and others. Using and combining their methods, the book then goes on to reconstruct important economic theories – including utility theory, game theory, Marxian economics, Sraffian economic theory, and econometrics – proving all the main theorems and discussing the key claims and the empirical applicability of each theory. Through these discussions, this book presents, in a systematic fashion, a general philosophy of economics grounded in the structural view.
Offering rigorous formulations of important economic theories, A Structuralist Theory of Economics will be invaluable to all readers interested in the logic, philosophy, and methodology of economics. It will also appeal particularly to those interested in economic theory.
1. Introduction. 2. Models and Structures. 3. The Structuralist View of Theories. 4. Idealization and Concretization. 5. Measurement. 6. A General Concept of an Economy. 7. Preference and Utility. 8. The Logical Structure of Game Theory. 9. Abstract Labor and Labor Value. 10. Classical Economics. 11. The Logical Structure of Sraffian Economic Theory. 12. The Logical Structure of Econometrics