The Economic World View: Studies in the Ontology of Economics

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Uskali Maki, Uskali Mäki
Cambridge University Press, Jul 23, 2001 - Business & Economics - 400 pages
The beliefs of economists are not solely determined by empirical evidence in direct relation to the theories and models they hold. Economists hold ontological presuppositions , fundamental ideas about the nature of being which direct their thinking about economic behaviour. In this volume, leading philosophers and economists examine these hidden presuppositions, searching for a world view of economics. What properties are attributed to human individuals in economic theories, and which are excluded? Does economic man exist? Do markets have an essence? Do macroeconomic aggregates exist? Is the economy a mechanism, the functioning of which is governed by a limited set of distinct causes? What are the methodological implications of different ontological starting points? This collection, which establishes economic ontology as a coordinated field of study, will be of great value to economists and philosophers of social sciences.
 

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Contents

Economic ontology what? why? how?
3
The empirical presuppositions of metaphysical explanations in economics
15
Quality and quantity in economics the metaphysical construction of the economic realm
32
The normative core of rational choice theory
57
The virtual reality of homo economicus
75
Expressive rationality is selfworth just another kind of preference?
98
Agent identity in economics
114
Chances and choices notes on probability and belief in economic theory
132
Is macroeconomics for real?
225
The possibility of economic objectivity
246
Ceteris paribus laws and socioeconomic machines
275
Tendencies laws and the composition of economic causes
293
Economics without mechanism
308
Sargents symmetry saga ontological versus technical constraints
335
Two models of idealization in economics
359
The way the world works www towards an ontology of theory choice
369

Essences and markets
157
The metaphysics of microeconomics
174
Ontological commitments of evolutionary economics
189

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