The Effortless Economy of Science?

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Duke University Press, 2004 - Business & Economics - 463 pages
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A leading scholar of the history and philosophy of economic thought, Philip Mirowski argues that there has been a top-to-bottom transformation in how scientific research is organized and funded in Western countries over the past two decades and that these changes necessitate a reexamination of the ways that science and economics interact. Mirowski insists on the need to bring together the insights of economics, science studies, and the philosophy of science in order to understand how and why particular research programs get stabilized through interdisciplinary appropriation, controlled attributions of error, and funding restrictions.

Mirowski contends that neoclassical economists have persistently presumed and advanced an “effortless economy of science,” a misleading model of a self-sufficient and conceptually self-referential social structure that transcends market operations in pursuit of absolute truth. In the stunning essays collected here, he presents a radical critique of the ways that neoclassical economics is used to support, explain, and legitimate the current social practices underlying the funding and selection of “successful” science projects. He questions a host of theories, including the portraits of science put forth by Karl Popper, Michael Polanyi, and Thomas Kuhn. Among the many topics he examines are the social stabilization of quantitative measurement, the repressed history of econometrics, and the social construction of the laws of supply and demand and their putative opposite, the gift economy. In The Effortless Economy of Science? Mirowski moves beyond grand abstractions about science, truth, and democracy in order to begin to talk about the way science is lived and practiced today.

  

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Contents

Confessions of an Aging Enfant Terrible
37
Science as an Economic Phenomenon
51
On Playing the Economics Card in the Philosophy of Science Why It Didnt Work for Michael Polanyi
53
Economics Science and Knowledge Polanyi versus Hayek
72
Whats Kuhn Got to Do with It?
85
The Economic Consequences of Philip Kitcher
97
Reengineering Scientific Credit in the Era of the Globalized Information Economy
116
Rigorous Quantitative Measurement as a Social Phenomenon
145
Why Econometricians Dont Replicate Although They Do Reproduce
213
From Mandelbrot to Chaos in Economic Theory
229
Mandelbrots Economics after a QuarterCentury
251
Episodes from the History of the Laws of Supply and Demand
271
The Collected Economic Works of William Thomas Thornton An Introduction and Justification
273
Smooth Operator How Marshalls Demand and Supply Curves Made Neo classicism Safe for Public Consumption but Unfit for Science
335
Problems in the Paternity of Econometrics
357
Refusing the Gift
376

Looking for Those Natural Numbers Dimensionless Constants and the Idea of Natural Measurement
147
A Visible Hand in the Marketplace of Ideas Precision Measurement as Arbitrage
169
Is Econometrics an Empirical Endeavor?
193
Brewing Betting and Rationality in London 18221844 What Econometrics Can and Cannot Tell Us about the Historical Actors
195
Notes
401
References
427
Index
459
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About the author (2004)

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Philip Mirowski is Carl Koch Professor of Economics at the University of Notre Dame. Among his books are Machine Dreams: Economics Becomes a Cyborg Science; More Heat Than Light: Economics as Social Physics, Physics as Nature’s Economics; and Science Bought and Sold: Essays in the Economics of Science (coedited with Esther-Mirjam Sent).

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