Where Economics and Philosophy Meet

Economic Journal, Vol. 116, pp. F306-F325, June 2006

20 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2010

See all articles by Peter J. Boettke

Peter J. Boettke

George Mason University - Department of Economics; Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Christopher J. Coyne

George Mason University - Department of Economics; George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Guala Francesco

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Alain Marciano

Université de Montpellier; Université Montpellier I - Montpellier Recherche en Economie (Montpellier Research in Economics) MRE

Jochen Runde

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School

Margaret Schabas

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Philosophy

John Davis

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 2006

Abstract

Although Adam Smith’s 1776 Wealth of Nations is often cited as marking the birth of economics, it was really not until after the second world war that economics became the distinctive, more or less unified, and largely separate discipline summarised in the textbooks of today. Even a mere fifty years ago, it was possible for the intelligent reader to move with relative ease between economics on the one hand and political economy, sociology and social theory, psychology and philosophy on the other. This is now no longer the case, and most young economists are taught to think of their discipline, not primarily in terms of the particular economic social phenomena it was once taken to be about, but as a sophisticated and largely self-contained analytical approach to the investigation of social phenomena of any kind. Even so, economics has never been able to separate itself entirely from its sister disciplines, even at the high tide of mathematical economics and positivism during the 1970s and 1980s, and many of the most active new areas in economics currently involve some form of boundary crossing (e.g. experimental economics, neuroeconomics and computational economics to name just three). With respect to the philosophy of economics in particular, the last fifty years or so have seen a steady expansion in scholarly investigation into different connections between economics and philosophy, with the emergence of new journals, professional associations, research networks and the like. There has been a great deal of work on epistemological questions in the wake of the decline of positivism, on boundary issues and the question of whether or not economics constitutes a science, and on the rhetoric of economics, ethics, value and, latterly, the ontology of economics (Hands, 2001). It is against this background that, in 2004, three of us published the Elgar Companion to Economics and Philosophy (Davis, Marciano and Runde, 2004, henceforth the Companion), an edited collection aimed at documenting the current state of play in three important areas of the philosophy of economics:

(1) Political economy as political philosophy; (2) The methodology and epistemology of economics; and (3) Social ontology and the ontology of economics.

JEL Classification: B53

Suggested Citation

Boettke, Peter J. and Coyne, Christopher J. and Francesco, Guala and Marciano, Alain and Runde, Jochen and Schabas, Margaret and Davis, John, Where Economics and Philosophy Meet (2006). Economic Journal, Vol. 116, pp. F306-F325, June 2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1538584

Peter J. Boettke (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-1149 (Phone)
703-993-1133 (Fax)

Mercatus Center at George Mason University ( email )

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Christopher J. Coyne

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.ccoyne.com/

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

HOME PAGE: http://ppe.mercatus.org/scholars/christopher-coyne

Guala Francesco

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Alain Marciano

Université de Montpellier ( email )

Avenue Raymond Dugrand, CS 79606
Montpellier Cedex 1, F-34000
France

Université Montpellier I - Montpellier Recherche en Economie (Montpellier Research in Economics) MRE ( email )

Montpellier
France

Jochen Runde

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School ( email )

Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1AG
United Kingdom

Margaret Schabas

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Philosophy ( email )

1866 Main Mall E370
Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z1
Canada

John Davis

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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