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« The Integrity of College Teaching | Main | What's in a Name? »


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For a second there I thought this was going to be a methodenstreit.
The topic seems OK but compared with my initial understanding, I must admit that I'm disappointed :-)

Ok, so in your opinion, is Frog wrong on Frog's comment:
While short-term macroeconomics (what most people think of when they think of economics) has no proven models, microeconomics has many theories proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Frog considers the teaching of these proven microeconomic theories of even greater importance than the teaching of biological evolution as ignorance of microeconomics has a greater impact on quality of life than ignorance of evolutionary biology. Also, most evolutionary biology theory was originally based on microeconomic theory as microeconomics encompasses social evolution.
Frog considers testable models to be science, those models that cannot reasonably be tested are mre (but still important) speculation if built off previous "proved" theory).

After checking out the essays by Klein and Boettke it seems that the term 'Austrian' still has legs because it remains the most identifiable term that is associated with a set of assumptions that self-styled Austrians share with the more enlightened members of neo-classical mainstream. There is a lot to be said for drawing out parallels with biological evolution, and the ecological approach to investigating dynamic systems (the "growth of plants" approach), but not enough to justify a change in the brand name [get the marketing boys to do some focus groups or maybe some telephone polling on that!].

I don't know why we can't simultaneously believe that a) much of Austrian and mainstream economics is NOT science and b) there is however useful analysis that is not scientific in the narrow sense of the term.

We shouldn't be trying to broaden the idea of science, we should broaden the idea of useful learning so that rigorous, non-scientific concerns (like mathematical proofs but also rhetoric and analytic economics) are part of the scholarly inquiry.

If it's just marketing, then sure, call it Science. But then, don't be surprised if you get dinged by those who don't accept your definition.


But read Penrose's book --- science is not defined solely defined by its method, it is designed just as much by its quest.

Ultimately, I don't really care about the label "science" though I think it is silly to deny that it matters. I have been toying with a book idea for years entited: "Economics as Philosophical Science" (borrowing obviously from Collingwood)--- perhaps I will write that one day.


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