Beyond Positivism: Economic Methodology in the Twentieth Century

By Bruce J. Caldwell | Go to book overview

11

Prescription, Description, and Theory Appraisal

One of the most attractive features of logical empiricism was that it seemed to provide rigorous and objective formulas for identifying legitimate scientific procedure. The H-D model prescribed the structure and logical status of theories and theoretical terms; the covering-law models dictated which explanations were to qualify as scientific; and confirmationism provided criteria for the appraisal of theories. In a phrase, the logical empiricist program had prescriptive force.

As was shown in Chapter 4, the entirety of logical empiricism fell prey to extensive and severe criticism within the philosophy of science in the 1950s and 1960s. If the current climate of opinion continues, logical empiricism can no longer be considered a viable framework for explicating and assessing scientific activity. The question arises: Is there an equally prescriptively robust program to take the place of logical empiricism? If so, what is it; and if not, should other alternatives be considered?

Economists have generally neglected the topics of theory form and structure and the nature of scientific explanation in their methodological writings. (The exceptions are those analyses of explanation reviewed in Chapter 9. ) The same cannot be said regarding the problem of theory appraisal. Indeed, much of the literature in economic methodology involves, either explicitly or implicitly, the defense or critique of various methods of theory assessment. As such, the question of whether prescriptive methodology is possible in economics turns on the question: Do objective canons of theory appraisal exist in economics?

In this chapter the philosophical issues are reviewed. The general conclusions can be stated in advance: no algorithm of choice exists;

-220-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Beyond Positivism: Economic Methodology in the Twentieth Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 280

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.