This collection brings together the essays of one of the foremost American philosophers of economics. Cumulatively, they offer fresh perspectives on foundational questions such as, What sort of science is economics? and, How successful can economists be in acquiring knowledge of their subject matter?
In Part I, Professor Hausman addresses problems of economic theory and criticizes views, such as those of Karl Popper and Milton Friedman, that see the acceptability of economics as deriving from its predictive success. The author upholds the traditional view that we have reason to believe the conclusions of economic theories because they are deduced from plausible fundamental principles. The essays in Part II defend the importance of causal notions in theoretical economics, those in Part III concern the structure and development of economic theory. The chapters in Part IV, together with the general introduction, provide an accessible account of Hausman's general philosophical perspective and of the purposes underlying his reflections on economics.