Science Rationality and Neoclassical Economics

This work examines the claim to scienific status made by supporters and practitioners of neoclassical economics.

Science  Rationality  and Neoclassical Economics

This work examines the claim to scienific status made by supporters and practitioners of neoclassical economics. The approach taken is that of the history and philosophy of science. Analysis points to the conclusion that theories of economic choice are necessarily normative, essentially because of the nature of human behavior.

The Human Project and the Temptations of Science

From the contents: Epistemology and the basic questions.

The Human Project and the Temptations of Science

From the contents: Epistemology and the basic questions.- On scientific knowledge.- Epistemology, ideology, and the sociology of knowledge.- Neocleassical economics on liberty, individualism, and rationality.- Property, rights, and the sociology of the neoclassical economy.- Socialist economic thoery and ideology.- Biology and human behavior. conviction? (Astrid Herhoffer).

The Limits of Rationality

Intended to introduce novices to rational choice theory, this accessible, interdisciplinary book collects writings by leading researchers.

The Limits of Rationality

Prevailing economic theory presumes that agents act rationally when they make decisions, striving to maximize the efficient use of their resources. Psychology has repeatedly challenged the rational choice paradigm with persuasive evidence that people do not always make the optimal choice. Yet the paradigm has proven so successful a predictor that its use continues to flourish, fueled by debate across the social sciences over why it works so well. Intended to introduce novices to rational choice theory, this accessible, interdisciplinary book collects writings by leading researchers. The Limits of Rationality illuminates the rational choice paradigm of social and political behavior itself, identifies its limitations, clarifies the nature of current controversies, and offers suggestions for improving current models. In the first section of the book, contributors consider the theoretical foundations of rational choice. Models of rational choice play an important role in providing a standard of human action and the bases for constitutional design, but do they also succeed as explanatory models of behavior? Do empirical failures of these explanatory models constitute a telling condemnation of rational choice theory or do they open new avenues of investigation and theorizing? Emphasizing analyses of norms and institutions, the second and third sections of the book investigate areas in which rational choice theory might be extended in order to provide better models. The contributors evaluate the adequacy of analyses based on neoclassical economics, the potential contributions of game theory and cognitive science, and the consequences for the basic framework when unequal bargaining power and hierarchy are introduced.

The Social Sciences and Rationality

This volume brings together prominent scholars working in several social science disciplines and the philosophy of science to debate the promise and problems of rational choice theory.

The Social Sciences and Rationality

In recent decades, rational choice theory has emerged as the single most powerful, controversial claimant to provide a unified, theoretical framework for all the social sciences. In its simplest form, the theory postulates that humans are purposive beings who pursue their goals in a rational, efficient manner, seeking the greatest benefit at the lowest cost. This volume brings together prominent scholars working in several social science disciplines and the philosophy of science to debate the promise and problems of rational choice theory. As rational choice theory has spread from its home base in economics to other disciplines, it has come under fierce criticism. To its critics, the extension of the explanatory model mistakenly assumes that the logic of economic rationality can explain non-economic behavior and, at its worst, commits the ethnocentric error of imposing Western concepts of rationality on non-Western societies and cultures. This volume includes strong advocates as well as forceful critics of the rational choice approach. However, in contrast to previous debates, all the contributors share a commitment to open, constructive and knowledgeable dialogue. Well-known advocates of rational choice theory (Michael Hechter, Michael Smith, Chris Manfredi) explicitly ponder some of its serious limitations, while equally well-known critics (Ian Shapiro, Mario Bunge) strike a surprisingly conciliatory tone in contemplating its legitimate uses. Vociferous critics of neoclassical economics (Bunge) favorably discuss sociological proponents of rational choice theory while two economists who are not particularly anti-mainstream (Robin Rowley, George Grantham) critically assess the problems of such assumptions in their discipline. Philosophers (Storrs McCall) and sociologists (John Hall) alike reflect on the variable meaning of rationality in explaining social behavior. In the introduction and conclusion, the editors survey the current state of the debate and show how open, constructive dialogue enables us to move beyond hackneyed accusations and dismissals that have characterized much previous debate.

The Nature of Macroeconomics

If you are unfamiliar with the arguments that macro is not, and cannot be, a traditional science, then this book is definitely worth reading.

The Nature of Macroeconomics

The Nature of Macroeconomics is a short but adventurous book that punches well above its weight . . . As part of a growing literature that identifies methodological issues as central to any appreciation of macroeconomic debate, and which seeks to under-labor for a more relevant useful indeed, more scientific macroeconomics, Fitzgibbons book is to be warmly welcomed. Mark Setterfield, Review of Social Economy Fitzgibbons examines the foundations of macroeconomic theory and policy and develops an insightful discussion of important issues, especially the state of knowledge of both market participants and policymakers . . . The Nature of Macroeconomics is clearly a book that contributes to the growth of our own partial knowledge. David Dequech, Review of Political Economy Athol Fitzgibbons s book distils the main lesson of the debates on Keynes over the last 25 years: that macroeconomics has to be based on a theory of knowledge consistent with the way life is lived, where decisions are made in the face of imperfect knowledge. All existing theory (including, he argues, the General Theory) assumes either perfect knowledge or complete ignorance. He shows us why this has happened, and suggests a way out. It is a brave, knowledgeable and important book. Victoria Chick, University College London, UK A well-written, well-argued discussion of the foundations of macro. If you are unfamiliar with the arguments that macro is not, and cannot be, a traditional science, then this book is definitely worth reading. David Colander, Middlebury College, Vermont, US This book addresses the long absence of a satisfactory theory of macroeconomics. Keynesian theory is not consistent with rational self-interest, but neo-classical economics is unable to explain economic volatility and the trade cycle. Athol Fitzgibbons critiques the leading macroeconomic theories, which he believes are unduly mechanistic because they are incompatible with non-quantitative knowledge. The author sketches the intellectual history of partial knowledge and judgement so far as these relate to macroeconomics, and rejects the claims that Keynes recanted the analysis of practical reason in his Treatise on Probability. Fitzgibbons s theme is the possibility of a new synthesis of Keynes and the neoclassical system. This stresses financial rationality, but it also recognizes that there is an element of indeterminacy in both government policies and the movements of the market.

Epistemology and the Social

These are some of the topics discussed in this book, both theoretically and with reference to concrete cases.

Epistemology and the Social

Epistemology had to come to terms with “the social” on two different occasions. The first was represented by the dispute about the epistemological status of the “social” sciences, and in this case the already well established epistemology of the natural sciences seemed to have the right to dictate the conditions for a discipline to be a science. But the social sciences could successfully vindicate the legitimacy of their specific criteria for scientificity. More recently, the impact of social factors on the construction of our knowledge (including scientific knowledge) has reversed, in a certain sense, the old position and promoted social inquiry to the role of a criterion for evaluating the purport of cognitive (including scientific) statements. But this has undermined the traditional characteristics of objectivity and rigor that seem constitutive of science. Moreover, in order to establish the real extent to which social conditionings have an impact on scientific knowledge one must credit sociology with a sound ground of reliability, and this is not possible without a preliminary “epistemological” assessment. These are some of the topics discussed in this book, both theoretically and with reference to concrete cases.

Rationality Institutions and Economic Methodology

First published in 1993. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

Rationality  Institutions  and Economic Methodology

First published in 1993. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

How Do Institutions Steer Events

Wettersten contends that this has been a consequence of theories of rationality which assume that rationality requires coherent theories to be shown to be true.

How Do Institutions Steer Events

Theories of explanation in the social sciences vacillate between holism and individualism. Wettersten contends that this has been a consequence of theories of rationality which assume that rationality requires coherent theories to be shown to be true. Rejecting these traditional assumptions about rationality Wettersten claims that the traditional explanations of rationality have placed unrealistic demands on both individuals and institutions. Analysing the theories of Weber and Popper, Wettersten shows that Popper made considerable progress in the theory of rationality, but ultimately stayed too close to the ideas of Hayek, he explains how this dilemma leads to difficulties in economics, anthropology, sociology, ethics and political theory, and constructs an alternative theory that rationality is critical problem-solving in institutional contexts. Wettersten contends that 'the critical consideration of theories followed by their improvement' dispenses with the need for justification and sees rationality as a social phenomena with an institutional basis. The main social advantages this view offers is that the degree of rationality individuals achieve may be increased by institutional reform without moralizing and that we can explain how institutions steer events insofar as we understand how they determine the problems which individuals seek to solve. It is argued that the central moral advantage of this view is that rationality is shown to be Spinozistic in the sense that it is natural and furthers morality and peace of mind.

Microfoundations of Evolutionary Economics

This book provides for the first time the microfoundations of evolutionary economics, enabling the reader to grasp a new framework for economic analysis that is compatible with evolutionary processes.

Microfoundations of Evolutionary Economics

This book provides for the first time the microfoundations of evolutionary economics, enabling the reader to grasp a new framework for economic analysis that is compatible with evolutionary processes. Any independent approach to economics must include a value theory (or price theory) and price and quantity adjustment processes. Evolutionary economics has rightly and successfully concentrated its efforts on explaining evolutionary processes in technology and institutions. However, it does not have its own value theory and is not capable of explaining the workings of everyday economics processes, in which any evolutionary process would take place. Our point of departure is the addition of myopic agents with severely limited rational and forecasting capacities (in stark contrast to mainstream economics). We show how myopic agents, in a complex world, can produce a stable price system and demonstrate how they can adjust their production to changing demand flows. Agents behave without any knowledge of the overall process, and they generate a stable economy as large as the global network of exchanges. This is the true “miracle” of the market mechanism. In contrast to mainstream general equilibrium theory, this miracle can be explained without the need for an auctioneer or infinitely rational agents. Thanks to this book, evolutionary economics can now claim to be an independent approach to economics that can completely replace mainstream neoclassical economics.

Full Spectrum Economics

This book offers a critical assessment of contemporary mainstream economics by showing that the discipline has become much too narrow and misses out on the full spectrum of human existence.

Full Spectrum Economics

Economics is essential in today’s world, and yet mainstream economists are increasingly under criticism for not taking into account sufficiently many dimensions of real life, such as political and moral values, human development, spirituality, and people’s widely shared aspiration to live more liberated lives. This book offers a critical assessment of contemporary mainstream economics by showing that the discipline has become much too narrow and misses out on the full spectrum of human existence. The book presents a careful, detailed analysis of the limitations of neoclassical economics and of its post-neoclassical successors: behavioral economics, neuroeconomics, and experimental economics. It offers a deconstruction rooted in the "Integral" philosophy developed over the past three decades by the contemporary American thinker Ken Wilber. Distinguishing between exterior and interior dimensions of human existence, it suggests that economics could be made into a more inclusive and more emancipatory science if it started to truly honor the genuinely interior aspects of individuals and communities. Instead of remaining stuck in the limitations of post-neoclassical theory, we should make the move toward a new paradigm that, in the name of science, promotes objectivity as well as subjectivity, and material causality as well as existential awareness. The result is a highly expanded sense of relevance for economists, sociologists, and social scientists in general. Combining methodologies from systems science, brain science, ethno-methodology, and existentialism as well as from the great spiritual traditions of humanity, Christian Arnsperger delineates the requirements of a genuinely integral economics beyond today’s crippling reductionism.

Control Information and Technological Change

The non-neoclassical characterization of production developed in this book is in keeping with how economic historians describe specific technological changes and how they write technological histories about particular machines, firms or ...

Control  Information  and Technological Change

Information theory, cybernetics and the theory of finite automata are used to model learning-by-doing, bounded rationality, routine behavior, and the formation of teams. The non-neoclassical characterization of production developed in this book ignores the usual quantitative relationships between inputs and outputs and instead views production strictly as a problem of control and communication. The motivation for this unconventional characterization of production comes from Schumpeter's critique of neoclassical economic theory. Schumpeter argued that neoclassical economic theory, and the habits of thought engendered by it, was the major obstacle to acquiring an understanding of technological change. The non-neoclassical characterization of production developed in this book is in keeping with how economic historians describe specific technological changes and how they write technological histories about particular machines, firms or industries.

From Economics Imperialism to Freakonomics

Is or has economics ever been the imperial social science? Could or should it ever be so? These are the central concerns of this book.

From Economics Imperialism to Freakonomics

Is or has economics ever been the imperial social science? Could or should it ever be so? These are the central concerns of this book. It involves a critical reflection on the process of how economics became the way it is, in terms of a narrow and intolerant orthodoxy, that has, nonetheless, increasingly directed its attention to appropriating the subject matter of other social sciences through the process termed "economics imperialism". In other words, the book addresses the shifting boundaries between economics and the other social sciences as seen from the confines of the dismal science, with some reflection on the responses to the economic imperialists by other disciplines. Significantly, an old economics imperialism is identified of the "as if market" style most closely associated with Gary Becker, the public choice theory of Buchanan and Tullock and cliometrics. But this has given way to a more "revolutionary" form of economics imperialism associated with the information-theoretic economics of Akerlof and Stiglitz, and the new institutional economics of Coase, Wiliamson and North. Embracing one "new" field after another, economics imperialism reaches its most extreme version in the form of "freakonomics", the economic theory of everything on the basis of the most shallow principles. By way of contrast and as a guiding critical thread, a thorough review is offered of the appropriate principles underpinning political economy and its relationship to social science, and how these have been and continue to be deployed. The case is made for political economy with an interdisciplinary character, able to bridge the gap between economics and other social sciences, and draw upon and interrogate the nature of contemporary capitalism.

A Framework for Cognitive Economics

This is the first book-length work to integrate the insights of cognitive science fully into economics.

A Framework for Cognitive Economics

This is the first book-length work to integrate the insights of cognitive science fully into economics. It reviews a wide range of related work in both fields and proposes new approaches to choice theory, rationality, and interaction (equilibrium) that are consistent with the limited cognitive capacity of real human beings. While joining with neoclassical economics in supporting the validity of supply-and-demand theory where it is literally applicable, McCain challenges most neoclassical theory, especially monopoly, oligopoly, and general equilibrium theory and welfare economics. His work aims to further and unite recent notions of behavioral and social economics. This important work will be of interest to behavioral, social, and Keynesian economists, as well as other social scientists and philosophers interested in economic phenomena.

Coping with the Complexity of Economics

All this is true for economic systems. These are based on the activities of single economic agents.

Coping with the Complexity of Economics

Throughout the history of economics, a variety of analytical tools have been borrowed from the so-called exact sciences. As Schoe?er (1955) puts it: “They have taken their mathematics and their ded- tive techniques from physics, their statistics from genetics and agr- omy, their systems of classi?cation from taxonomy and chemistry, their model-construction techniques from astronomy and mechanics, and their methods of analysis of the consequences of actions from en- neering”. The possibility of similarities of structure in mathematical models of economic and physical systems has been an important f- tor in the development of neoclassical theory. To treat the state of an economy as an equilibrium, analogous to the equilibrium of a mech- ical system has been a key concept in economics ever since it became a mathematically formalized science. Adopting a Newtonian paradigm neoclassical economics often is based on three fundamental concepts. Firstly, the representative agent who is a scale model of the whole society with extraordinary capacities, particularly concerning her - pability of information processing and computation. Of course, this is a problematic reduction as agents are both heterogeneous and bou- edly rational and limited in their cognitive capabilities. Secondly, it often con?ned itself to study systems in a state of equilibrium. But this concept is not adequate to describe and to support phenomena in perpetual motion.

Rational Choice Theory and Organizational Theory

This book addresses a question central to organizational analysis: Given the well-established differences between rational choice and organizational theories, what are the limits of fruitful dialogue and collaboration between the two fields ...

Rational Choice Theory and Organizational Theory

This book addresses a question central to organizational analysis: Given the well-established differences between rational choice and organizational theories, what are the limits of fruitful dialogue and collaboration between the two fields? Rational Choice Theory and Organizational Theory is written in response to the neoclassical economic rational choice theories and organizational economic theories which have emerged in the past decade. Rational choice theory exemplifies a highly abstract, deductive approach characterized by the development of models based on deliberately, rigidly simplified assumptions. In contrast, Mary Zey argues that the empirical validity of the structure of organizations

A Brain Focused Foundation for Economic Science

This book argues that Lionel Robbins’s construction of the economics field’s organizing cornerstone, scarcity—and all that has been derived from it from economists in Robbins’s time to today—no longer can generate general consent ...

A Brain Focused Foundation for Economic Science

This book argues that Lionel Robbins’s construction of the economics field’s organizing cornerstone, scarcity—and all that has been derived from it from economists in Robbins’s time to today—no longer can generate general consent among economists. Since Robbins’ Essay, economists have learned more than Robbins and his cohorts could have imagined about human decision making and about the human brain that is the lynchpin of human decision making. This book argues however that behavioral economists and neuroeconomists, in pointing to numerous ways people fall short of perfectly rational decisions (anomalies, biases, and downright errors), have saved conventional economics from such self-contradictions in what could be viewed as a wayward approach. This book posits that the human brain is the ultimate scarce resource, and that a focus on the brain can bring a new foundation for economics and can save the discipline from hostile criticisms from a variety of non-economists (many psychologists).

Nonlinearity Bounded Rationality and Heterogeneity

This book pursues a nonlinear approach in considering both chaotic dynamical models and agent-based simulation models of economics, as well as their dynamical behaviors.

Nonlinearity  Bounded Rationality  and Heterogeneity

This book pursues a nonlinear approach in considering both chaotic dynamical models and agent-based simulation models of economics, as well as their dynamical behaviors. Three key concepts arising in this context are “nonlinearity,” “bounded rationality” and “heterogeneity,” which also make up the title of the book. Nonlinearity is the warp that runs throughout all models because systems that exhibit chaotic or other complex behavior in the absence of any exogenous disturbances are absolutely nonlinear. Bounded rationality constitutes the woof, because economic systems do not exhibit complex behavior if all agents are perfectly rational, as is usually assumed in neoclassical economics. Agents who are boundedly rational have to struggle to do their best with limited information and tend to adapt to their economic environment without knowing what is the best. Furthermore, the heterogeneity of firms or consumers dyes the fabric of complex dynamics woven from the warp and woof.

Methodological Cognitivism

This book deals with the cognitive foundation of the theory of social action.

Methodological Cognitivism

This book deals with the cognitive foundation of the theory of social action. The social sciences are still guided by models of social action, far from the empirical reality of the psychology of action. While economics seems to have made greater progress in accepting the changes to the theory of action derived from cognitive science (see, for example, the 2002 Nobel prize for economics awarded to Daniel Kahneman), sociology is still being oriented on the dualism of hermeneutics vs. structuralism, which leaves very little room for a cognitive theory of social action. The unique features of the book are its combination of epistemology, philosophy of mind and cognitive science in order to renew and overcome the limits of the current methodologies of social science and in particular methodological individualism. Methodological cognitivism is proposed as an alternative to the holistic character of structuralism, to the intentionalist and rationalist features of methodological individualism, and to the relativistic character of hermeneutics and ethnomethodology.

Machine Dreams

This is the first cross-over book into the history of science written by an historian of economics. It shows how 'history of technology' can be integrated with the history of economic ideas.

Machine Dreams

This is the first cross-over book into the history of science written by an historian of economics. It shows how 'history of technology' can be integrated with the history of economic ideas. The analysis combines Cold War history with the history of postwar economics in America and later elsewhere, revealing that the Pax Americana had much to do with abstruse and formal doctrines such as linear programming and game theory. It links the literature on 'cyborg' to economics, an element missing in literature to date. The treatment further calls into question the idea that economics has been immune to postmodern currents, arguing that neoclassical economics has participated in the deconstruction of the integral 'self'. Finally, it argues for an alliance of computational and institutional themes, and challenges the widespread impression that there is nothing else besides American neoclassical economic theory left standing after the demise of Marxism.

Political Economy of the Environment

This book draws on the strengths of each and all of these approaches to analyse environmental issues and what can be done to tackle these through corporate and public policy. The book argues that the need for an inter-disciplinary approach.

Political Economy of the Environment

This book is the culmination of several years work by a group of academics, policy-makers and other professionals looking to understand how alternative economic thinking – and indeed thinking from quite different social-scientific disciplines – could enhance the mainstream economic approach to environmental and natural-resource problems. Of the editors, Dietz comes from the mainstream economics tradition, while Michie and Oughton draw explicitly on institutional and evolutionary economics. The various authors represent a range of disciplinary backgrounds and approaches. This book draws on the strengths of each and all of these approaches to analyse environmental issues and what can be done to tackle these through corporate and public policy. The book argues that the need for an inter-disciplinary approach. Two themes which emerge repeatedly throughout the book are the need for an interdisciplinary theory of technological change, and the need for a similarly interdisciplinary approach to the study of human behaviour and how it influences both production and consumption choices. The two themes are of course related. Resolving environmental questions requires an understanding of their nature, of their causes and, to the extent that they are anthropogenic, of how to change human behaviour. These fundamental issues are the focus of the four chapters that form Part 1 of this volume. The remainder of the volume develops them in more detail. .