By Thomas Boylan, Paschal O'Gorman
Boylan and O'Gorman inject a clean empiricist voice into the hot debates in monetary methodology.... compliment the ebook for its cautious scholarship, its highbrow novelty and its familiarity with latest methodological literature." D. Wade palms, collage of Puget Sound, united states
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Extra info for Beyond Rhetoric and Realism in Economics: Towards a Reformulation of Methodology (Economics As Social Theory)
The assumption of rational maximizing behaviour is fundamental to mainstream economics. Rationality is conventionally defined as transitivity in choice over a well ordered preference function. Empirical studies of choice behaviour reveal that the transitivity condition may be frequently violated. These findings have prompted investigations into the effects of deviations from purely rational behaviour, both theoretically and empirically. The result is a growing literature in the area of ‘behavioural economics’, which may have profound implications for theorizing in this domain of economics (Gilad and Kaish 1986; Hogarth and Reder 1987; Earl 1988).
Caldwell himself has been a persistent critic of falsificationism (Caldwell 1981, 1984b, 1985, 1986). However, in his most recent assessment Caldwell concedes that one of his major arguments against falsificationism was seriously incomplete. His error was to argue that falsificationism was an inappropriate methodology for economics because most economic theories could not be conclusively falsified, 20 PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE AND ECONOMICS and proceeded to buttress this line of criticism with the various obstacles to achieving clear cut tests of theories in economics.
Each scientific discipline contains one of a number of research programmes, which in turn are comprised of a sequence of theories which are subject to change over time. The hard core of a research programme contains its most fundamental assumptions, which are usually deemed to be irrefutable and are therefore not the object of interrogation by those working within the programme. The encounter with empirical data takes place in the protective belt, where the empirical implications of the programme are scrutinized and are eventually modified if deemed necessary.