What is theory?

21 Jun, 2020 at 08:47 | Posted in Economics | 1 Comment

what is theoryEconomics is a discipline with the avowed ambition to produce theory for the real world. But it fails in this ambition, Lars Pålsson Syll asserts in Chapter 12, at least as far as the dominant mainstream neoclassical economic theory is concerned. Overly confident in deductivistic Euclidian methodology, neoclassical economic theory lines up series of mathematical models that display elaborate internal consistency but lack clear counterparts in the real world. Such models are at best unhelpful, if not outright harmful, and it is time for economic theory to take a critical realist perspective and explain economic life in depth rather than merely modeling it axiomatically.

The state of economic theory is not as bad as Pålsson Syll describes, Fredrik Hansen retorts in Chapter 13. Looking outside the mainstream neoclassic tradition, one can find numerous economic perspectives that are open to other disciplines and manifest growing interest in methodological matters. He is confident that theoretical and methodological pluralism will be able to refresh the debate on economic theory, particularly concerning the nature of realism in economic theory, a matter about which Pålsson Syll and Hansen clearly disagree.

What is theory? consists of a multidisciplinary collection of essays that are tied together by a common effort to tell what theory is, and paired as dialogues between senior and junior researchers from the same or allied disciplines to add a trans-generational dimension to the book’s multidisciplinary approach.

The book has mainly been designed for master’s degree students and postgraduates in the social sciences and the humanities.

1 Comment

  1. Just because a theory doesn’t get traction it doesn’t mean it fails. Many theories took a long time to get accepted-like Nash or Lipsey/Lancaster 2nd Best theories had all the math rigor and stats but it took a long time to be accepted-even Milton Friedman correct interpretation of the Great Depression wasnt accepted until a decade after it was publihed-other theories are accepted too soon even though they are suspect because they fit right inside the rich and powerful of a particular society and time-such was the case of Robert Lucas Rational Expectations and if you go back into history, Saint Agustine who dominated all thought for over a Millenium.
    If it fits the rich wishes and desires the theory will be successful-all others will be shunned into academic obscurity.
    That is until a catastrophe happens like the Great Depression in 1930s which explains why Keynes was so readily accepted-even with his shortcommings, like the thrift paradox.
    We are living in such a catastrophe time now-I am ✍🏼A book 📚 now on 21 Century Economics because I am convinced that all textbooks that were written before this century aren’t enough anymore. Not that they were always wrong, but they just aren’t providing all the answers the 🌎 needs now
    Keep you posted on its progress-if you like

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