How do we know which explanation is the best?

21 October, 2015 at 13:43 | Posted in Theory of Science & Methodology | Leave a comment

 

If only mainstream economists also understood these basics …

But they don’t!

Why?

Because in mainstream economics it’s not inference to the best explanation that rules the methodological-inferential roost, but deductive reasoning based on logical inference from a set of axioms. Although — under specific and restrictive assumptions — deductive methods may be usable tools, insisting that economic theories and models ultimately have to be built on a deductive-axiomatic foundation to count as being economic theories and models, will only make economics irrelevant for solving real world economic problems. Modern deductive-axiomatic mainstream economics is sure very rigorous — but if it’s rigorously wrong, who cares?

Instead of making formal logical argumentation based on deductive-axiomatic models the message, I think we are better served by economists who more than anything else try to contribute to solving real problems — and in that endeavour inference to the best explanation is much more relevant than formal logic.

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