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Knowledge and Persuasion in Economics

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ISBN-13: 978-0521436038
ISBN-10: 0521436036
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Editorial Reviews


"...witty, learned, inventive, disputatious, stylish, and aimed at the heart of economics as a discipline." Business History Review

"McCloskey's book is well written and covers a remarkable breadth of methodology in economic science, which will not fail to stir the economist's interests and protest, though most economists are not familiar with them. It is also provocative, evocative, and most of all entertaining." The Southern Economic Journal

"If you have a serious interest in the human sciences and you enjoy dazzling intellectual aerobics, then McCloskey's writing is for you. He brings to his exposition an extraordinary grasp of literature, literary criticism, poetry, history, philosophy, and the natural and social sciences, and delivers his message with stunning ingenuity and flourish. Reading McCloskey s fun. Whatever you learn is a bonus." Robert Higgs, Liberty

"Buy this book....a modest price these days for 400 pages of superb text and 38 pages of rich bibliography. You should definitely read it, because McCloskey writes engagingly about so many matters on which all economists ought to reflect. And you shouldn't read the library copy or a copy borrowed from a friend, because you'll want to underline phrases, bracket paragraphs, and mark items in the bibliography for future consultation." Paul Heyne, Bulletin of the Association of Christian Economists

"There is no doubt that this latest book has benefitted from the decade that has passed, a decade that witnessed numerous developments in science studies, rhetoric, and philosophy. McCloskey is an intent listener and he integrates the fruits of his omnivorous appetite with the added flavor of his own wittiness and playfulness....His style is provocative and entertaining....In my view, McCloskey's arguments are extremely persuasive." Yuval Yonay, Journal of Economic Literature

"The book reviewed here is actually the third installment of a trilogy, which began with The Rhetoric of Economics and includes If You're So Smart....To sum up: the views presented in the book are in several aspects richer than McCloskey's earlier views." Pragmatic & Cognition

Book Description

A work of technical economics that can be read by anyone as well as a witty guide to the ins and outs of economic philosophy, this unusual book's message to philosophers is that economics is a human science that is "literary" as well as "mathematical".

Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (May 27, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521436036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521436038
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,369,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Willem Noe on January 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As an macro-economist interested in methodology of economics and the philosophy of science, i found McCloskey's book instructive and interesting. Especially the central role of language in science (as in all other human communication or, rather, persuasion), with clear links to American pragmatist philosophers like Rorty is convincingly put forward. The false and unhelpful dichotomy between 'objective facts' and 'subjective interpretation' gets a proper thrashing. I wish more economists and other social scientists would take note of this. Recommended for all economists with an interest in the foundations of their profession.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Graham D. Peterson on January 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
Any one of the essays in this book will benefit the student of economics. The point of Professor McCloskey's Program of Rhetoric is that *all* arguments are well, arguments. One hopes to be persuasive, or at least wonders what slaving over axiomatic proofs and penetrating dense economic prose is for if not to create a net gain in persuading one's peers eventually. McCloskey's argument thus (a persuasive one) is that a greater focus on persuasion itself will help the economist become more persuasive. Imagine that. Five stars, and more if you have them.
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