The essays in this volume were a challenge to me to write. I am an economist to the core, inclined to evaluate most observed behavior and public policies with conventional neoclassical theory. The essays represent my attempt to come to grips with the meaning and importance of what I try to do as a professional economist. They reflect my attempt to acquire a new and improved understanding of the usefulness and limitations of the writings of professional economists, especially my own. In this regard, although I hope others will find the thoughts useful, the volume represents a personal statement of how one economist views his and others' work. For that reason the discussion is often openly normative, tinged with the conviction that social discourse is more than costs and benefits and that economics cannot be fully evaluated by the methods - economic methods - that are the subject of the evaluation. These essays could not have been written without considerable encouragement and help from colleagues and friends.
The following people are recognized for having read one or more chapters and for having contributed critical, substantive comments: Diana Bailey, Wilfred Beckerman, Geoffrey Brennan, William Briet, James Buchanan, Delores Martin, David Maxwell, Mary Ann McKenzie, Warren Samuels, Robert Staaf, Richard Wagner, Karen Vaughn, and Bruce Yandle. I am very much in their debt. However, they should not be held accountable for any of the positions taken and any errors that may remain.
1 Introduction.- The New World of Economics.- On Defining Boundaries of Science.- Purposes as Limitations on Theory.- Concluding Comments.- On the Methodological Boundaries of Economic Analysis: A Review and Partial Synthesis.- The Logic of Choice and Its Boundaries.- From a Logic of Choice to a Predictive Science.- From a Predictive Science to Control.- On the Rise of Predictive Science.- Concluding Comments.- 3 The Nonrational Domain and the Limits of Economic Analysis.- The Perceived Scope of the Economic Method.- The Nonrational Domain.- Nonrationality and the Necessity of Social Interaction.- Concluding Comments.- 4 The Neoclassicists vs. the Austrians: A Partial Reconciliation of Competing World Views.- The Nature of the Discipline.- The Predictability of Human Action.- The Nature and Purpose of Theory.- Concluding Comments.- 5 The Necessary Normative Context of Positive Economics.- Economics as a Science.- Einstein, Friedman, and Economics.- The Catch-22 in Science.- The Individual, Freedom, and Science.- Concluding Comments.- 6. The Economic and Social Philosophy of Albert Einstein: A Study in Comparative Methods.- Views on Labor Markets.- Views on Technology.- Remedies for Recession.- Views on World Trade.- The Philosophical Triangle: Physics, Economics, and Dostoevsky.- Concluding Comments.- 7 PostScript.- Conceptual vs. Practical Limits to Science.- Free Will and Economic Science.- The Limits of "as if".
Series: Kluwer-Nijhoff Studies in Human Issues
Number Of Pages: 127
Published: 31st December 1982
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publishers
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.13 x 15.88
Weight (kg): 0.34