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« Two New Items at The Freeman | Main | Richard Epstein -- The Sharpest Libertarian Thinker Currently Alive Being Himself »

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Very interesting comments by Caldwell! Thanks for sharing!

At least as I keep seeing it, the study of economics can't be complete without history of economic thought. History of economic thought is not just a field, but a core aspect of the discipline.

Wow, what a great video. Dr. Caldwell is just great. And have you guys browsed the course offerings of this program? Wow. Take a peek at Bruce Caldwell's teaching page to see the courses he teaches, or browse the undergraduate course offerings ("John Maynard Keynes" "Economic Science Studies" "Adam Smith and the System of Natural Liberty" "Hayek and the Austrian tradition" etc. etc.). I couldn't even dream up courses this interesting! I know where I am going to school next!

And everyone should read Caldwell's article on Lachmann (it's only 3 pages):

http://econ.duke.edu/~bjc18/docs/Ludwig%20Lachmann%20-%20A%20Reminiscence.pdf

To have been around at NYU in the late 1980's!

Beware of specialization and professionalization, both have serious downsides and these are apparent in the philosophy and methodology of science which became detached from the actual practice of science. The same could happen to historical studies, but not if it is done the way the Boettke boys want to do it.

The philosophy of science became specialized and professionalized along the lines of logical positivism and logical empiricism. These projects failed in their mission to eliminate metaphysics, establish criteria of cognitive significance and get over the problem of induction. Despite their failure they were regarded as the state of the art and apparently Hutchison struck a devastating blow against the Austrians (as described by Lachmann in Bruce's paper) when he attacked with the rhetoric of positivism. For some reason he is credited with introducing Popperism to economics but his 1938 book only refers to Popper as an aside in the footnotes. If he is regarded as a prophet of Popperism he was a false prophet because he was a positivst, not a critical rationalist.

The way forward after the 1930s and 1940s could have followed Parsons (1937), Popper (1944/45) and Mises (1939/1949) but instead followed positivism and mathematical formalism, plus Keyesianism that was empowered by the aggregated data bases that made it so easy to do "empirical" work and "demand analysis" supported by the "mathematical rigor" of econometrics. Where has that led?

Popperism might have become helpful after 1957 (book form of The Poverty) and 1959 (english translation of Logik der Forschung) but two more false prophets appeared - Kuhn and Lakatos. More wasted decades. And so history repeats if we don't learn from it.

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