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The Methodology of Economics: Or, How Economists Explain (Cambridge Surveys of Economic Literature) 2nd Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521436786
ISBN-10: 0521436788
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is a well-written and stimulating book...The summaries of the relevant literature are very good; its critical comments are balanced and fair. Many economists will find it a useful book". Journal of Economic Literature

"...If one is looking for a single book that might safely be put into the hands of economics students to inform them about relevant developments in the philosophy of science, about the tradition of self-conscious appraisal in their own discipline, and about the empirical substance of what they will almost everywhere be taught as mainstream economics, then this is it." Neil De Marchi, The Economic Journal

Book Description

A revised and updated edition of a classic work on the nature of economic explanation introduces current thinking in the philosophy of science, looks at the status of welfare economics and provides a series of case studies of leading economic controversies as well.
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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Surveys of Economic Literature
  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (July 31, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521436788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521436786
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #542,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This old and very short book on methodology enables novices to enter a philosophocal debate that is fragmented and decentralised. The book uses simple language and tries to educate not impress. Together with Alan Chalmers Mark Blaug is the best starting point for any student. However, it stops in the 1980s and therefore cuts off the debate at a critical point of time.
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Format: Paperback
The first edition of this book in 1980 established Blaug as a leading influence in this field, especially in his insistence on the importance of the testability or falsifiability of economic theories.
The first part of the book is a clearly written introduction to the modern philosophy of science. Popper is identified as the pivotal figure between the old positivism and the new heterodoxy of Kuhn, Lakatos and Feyerabend. Unfortunately he is still depicted as a "falsificationist" rather than a critical rationalist, a serious mistake in the first edition which might well have been corrected. Hands and Caldwell have subsequently made that step so perhaps Blaug will fix this in the second revised edition. Lakatos may have been the major influence in this matter of misunderstanding Popper, in any case the time has surely come to move on with the assistance of Popper's theory of metaphysical research programs (which are subjected to critical appraisal) rather than the theory of "untouchable" hard cores that was the legacy of Lakatos.
Blaug may be ready to make a decisive step in this area. Recently, meditating on the outcome of the second Greek Islands conference on methodology, he wrote "I have come slowly and extremely reluctantly to the view that they [the Austrians] are right and that we have all been wrong [on Walrasian general equilibrium]". This concession to the Austrians is a major shift for Blaug and this may enable him to take the next step and perceive the overlap between the Austrian assumptions and the major elements of Popper's program. There include realism, non-determinism, the flux of time, methodological individualism and the uncertainty of knowledge
The second part treats the history of economic methodology.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Blaug is noted as author of Economic Theory in Retrospect, a brilliant "presentist" reconstruction of past economic thought in terms of modern mathematical models. In the beginning of early editions of that work he included a survey of economics method which is considerably expanded in this book.

He surveys the traditional nineteenth century economic methodologists, such as Neville Keynes (J. M. Keynes' father), The scope and method of political economy. by John Neville Keyne John Stuart Mill, A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive and Cairns The Character and Logical Method of Political Economy. He also gives a general clear and condensed overview of the philosophies of science of Popper Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge (Routledge Classics), Thomas Kuhn The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Imre Lakatos
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Format: Paperback
I've read many economic books over my career and this is a book that you want to read early in your studies. It will simply blow your mind and enable you to question everything you've thought about in the field of economics. I have scribbled down the many author's names sprinkled throughout the book that refute and destroy earlier economic "laws". This should be some interesting reading in the future. I've read a few of Blaug's books and his wealth of knowledge and ability to speak to his reader are tough to match. If you are looking for a great author and wonderful book to help you round out your economics knowledge, look no further.
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Format: Paperback
It's a great book to introduce undergraduate students on economic method topics. Mark Blaug first provides an overall vision of philosophy of science, then comments the method of the economists of the XIXth and XXth century, and finally in the third part he shows the discussion on certain topics such as theory of the firm, human capital capital firm, etc, excellent to start a course-conclusion paper. It's great!
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