1st Edition

Beyond Positivism

By Bruce Caldwell Copyright 1984
    298 Pages
    by Routledge

    304 Pages
    by Routledge

    Since its publication in 1982, Beyond Positivism has become established as one of the definitive statements on economic methodology. The book’s rejection of positivism and its advocacy of pluralism were to have a profound influence in the flowering of work methodology that has taken place in economics in the decade since its publication. This edition contains a new preface outlining the major developments in the area since the book’s first appearance.

    The book provides the first comprehensive treatment of twentieth century philosophy of science which emphasizes the issues relevant to economics. It proceeds to demonstrate this relevance by reviewing some of the key debates in the area. Having concluded that positivism has to be rejected, the author examines possible alternative bases for economic methodology. Arguing that there is no best method, he advocates methodological pluralism.

    1 Introduction PART ONE TWENTIETH CENTURY PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE 2 Logical Positivism 3 The Positivist Tradition Matures—The Emergence of Logical Empiricism 4 The Philosophical Attack on Logical Empiricism 5 Contemporary Philosophy of Science—The Growth of Knowledge Tradition PART TWO SOME ESSAYS ON POSITIVISM AND ECONOMIC METHODOLOGY 6 Robbins versus Hutchison—The Introduction of Positivism in Economic Methodology 7 Hutchison versus Machlup—On Indirect Testing and the Rationality Postulate 8 Friedman’s Methodological Instrumentalism 9 Samuelson—Operationalism, Descriptivism, and Explanation in Economics PART THREE PROVISIONAL ANSWERS TO SOME UNSETTLED QUESTIONS 10 Is Philosophy of Science Useful for Understanding Methodology 11 Prescription, Description, and Theory Appraisal 12 Confirmation and Falsificationism in Economics 13 A Program for Economic Methodologists—Methodological Pluralism


    Bruce Caldwell is Research professor of Economics and Director of the Centre for the History of Political Economy, duke University, USA