Knowledge and Persuasion in Economics

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Cambridge University Press, May 5, 1994 - Business & Economics - 445 pages
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Is economics a science? Deidre McCloskey says 'Yes, but'. Yes, economics measures and predicts, but - like other sciences - it uses literary methods too. Economists use stories as geologists do, and metaphors as physicists do. The result is that the sciences, economics among them, must be read as 'rhetoric', in the sense of writing with intent. McCloskey's books, The Rhetoric of Economics(1985) and If You're So Smart(1990), have been widely discussed. In Knowledge and Persuasion in Economics he converses with his critics, suggesting that they too can gain from knowing their rhetoric. The humanistic and mathematical approaches to economics, says McCloskey, fit together in a new 'interpretive' economics. Along the way he places economics within the sciences, examines the role of mathematics in the field, replies to critics from the left, right and centre, and shows how economics can again take a leading place in the conversation of humankind.
  

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Contents

Kicking the dead horse
13
Narration
25
The rhetoric of this economics
38
Division
53
Three ways of reading economics to criticize itself
71
thin ways of reading economics
85
ethics economics sociology
94
existence
127
the Rosenberg
247
Methodologists of economics big M and small
265
Mark Blaug and
280
the Coats
297
Splenetic rationalism Austrian style
313
Heilbroner
324
Rhetoric as morally radical
340
Peroration
365

General equilibrium and the rhetorical history
146
Refutation
179
The tu quoque argument and the claims
199
Armchair philosophy of economics
215
The consequences of rhetoric
379
List of works cited
397
Index
435
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About the author (1994)

Deirdre N. McCloskey is distinguished professor of economics, history, English, and communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Among her many books are "Crossing: A Memoir "and "If You're So Smart: The Narrative of Economic Expertise," both published by the University of Chicago Press.

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