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Ontology and Economics: Tony Lawson and His Critics (Routledge Advances in Heterodox Economics) Hardcover – December 1, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0415476133 ISBN-10: 0415476135 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Routledge Advances in Heterodox Economics (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (December 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415476135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415476133
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,501,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Tony Lawson is famous for being the most powerful and effective critic of mainstream economics. His criticism is made more effective by the fact that he has an alternative conception of economics and indeed the rest of the social sciences, a conception deriving from his ontological theorising. This volume gives eleven important writers from a variety of fields and points of view within economics a chance to appraise Lawson's work; and with his replies the reader gets a deeper sense of Lawson's point of view and achievement."

John Searle, Slusser Professor of Philosophy, University of California at Berkeley

"Over the past 15 years, Tony Lawson's prosecution of a programme to establish a field of social ontology has inspired leading post-positivist economists to think anew about the ends, means, and possibilities of economics as a social science. Much constructive dialogue and debate has been generated and Ontology and Economics chronicles and extends these probing dialogues. Lawson's fans and critics, and first-timers looking for a colourful snapshot of the realist movement in contemporary economics, will find this an immensely rewarding read."

Rob Garnett, Texas Christian University, USA

"This collection of essays between Tony Lawson and his critics is an important contribution to the ongoing critical discourse on ontology, realism and heterodox economics. While the critics do have their say, Lawson's responses convincingly demonstrate that his project in social ontology not only makes a significant contribution to heterodox economics but also is indispensable for its future development."

Frederic S. Lee, Professor of Economics, University of Missouri-Kansas City, USA

About the Author

Edward Fullbrook is the founder and editor of the Real-World Economics Review and a research fellow in the School of Economics at the University of the West of England.

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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Herbert Gintis on May 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book, which consists of brief critiques of Tony Lawson, a professor of economics at Cambridge University, by eleven economists, along with replies to each by Lawson, is part of the Routledge Press series "Advances in Heterodox Economics." Heterodox economists generally agree that mainstream economics enjoys an unwarranted degree of legitimacy, power, resources, and political influence. Indeed, the top economic journals are all more or less "mainstream." Moreover, although the journals are not ideologically rigid, they generally agree on what constitutes publishable economic research, and this covers an extremely narrow range compared to some other disciplines, including sociology and political science. Finally, this narrowness is not deserved in terms of the explanatory power of the theory they espouse. Many articles in the journals run by heterodox economists are superior to many articles in the most prestigious of the mainstream journals.

I think it is fair to say that not only Lawson, but all of his critics in this volume are more or less firmly attached to the heterodoxy camp. This does not lessen the value of their critiques, several of which are extremely insightful in pointing out and analyzing key weaknesses in Lawson's opus. The only substantive distortion arising from this within-group parry-and-thrust is the strong tendency of participants, and especially the editor, vastly to overstate Lawson's presence in the economics profession. "Tony Lawson has become a major figure of intellectual controversy...Lawson's arguments are so powerful that few economists now feel that his case can be ignored." (overleaf).
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Clint Ballinger on February 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Provides a good starting point for studying arguments related to Lawson and the Ontology group at Cambridge University.
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