Re: [OPE] Launch of the The Journal of Philosophical Economics (JoPE)

Date: Wed Mar 05 2008 - 07:01:26 EST

Hi Dogan: Thanks for the news. btw, there is going to be a 'Special Issue'
heterodox economics. See below.
In solidarity, Jerry


The Journal of Philosophical Economics 
Volume I Issue 2 (Special issue 2008) 
Editor: Valentin Cojanu 
Guest Editor: Andrew Mearman 

Print ISSN: 1843-2298 
Frequency: 2 issues per year 
Publication date: 2008-03-01 
Paper format: 16.5x23.5 cm 
Number of pages: 176 

Pluralism and Heterodoxy: Introduction to the
Special Issue (Andrew Mearman) 
Abstract: This paper introduces a
special issue of the journal devoted to work presented at two recent
conferences of the Association for Heterodox Economics (AHE). The AHE is
an organisation which advocates and provides a forum for non-mainstream
approaches to economics. Recent conferences have focused on pluralism.
Pluralism is a variegated concept with multiple motivations and arguments
in its favour. Such arguments tend to be ontological and epistemological,
but may also be pedagogical. Pluralism has been advocated as a moniker
preferable to heterodoxy which might be adopted by non-mainstream
economists. However, it is problematic. The papers which comprise the
remainder of this issue illustrate that point. The papers are discussed in
turn and contrasted. 

Methodological Monism in Economics
(Tamás Dusek) 
Abstract: The aim of the paper is to give an
outline of the relation between general epistemology and the epistemology
of economics. The epistemology of economics can be treated starting from
the 'general epistemology of science' and from the subject of the
investigation, namely the problems of economics itself. Starting from the
general or subject-independent epistemology one can make an attempt to
adapt to economics various methodological approaches which were
practically created to take only the subject of physics or mathematics
into consideration. The characteristic feature of this mentality is often
methodological monism, a doctrine which implicitly or explicitly states
the unity of epistemology in all disciplines. In methodological writings
of economics, beside the supporters of some general epistemological
viewpoints, there are serious critics of them on behalf of methodologists
who start their researches based on economics. Methodological pluralism
does not reject the importation of methodological ideas from other
branches of knowledge in an aprioristic way. However, the uncritical
adoption of the methodology of physical sciences or 'general' methodology
leads to the realm of inadequacy and dogmatism. According to
methodological pluralism, every research has to choose its methods and
methodology conforming to the nature of its own problems. The theoretical
consequences of methodological monism are not always obvious.
Inappropriate methodology can lead to inappropriate theories and
inappropriate practical decisions. The negative consequences of formalism
will be illustrated by some spatial economic issues in the field of money
and price theory, such as the empirical empty doctrine of purchasing power
parity and the theory of optimal currency areas. Since neoclassical
mainstream is monist, therefore the critique of monism is at the same time
the critique of the method of neoclassical mainstream. 

Pluralism versus Heterodoxy in Economics and the Social Sciences
(Randall G. Holcombe) Abstract: Pluralism is the concept that there is no
single methodology that is always the correct one for discovering
scientific truths, so multiple approaches and methodologies are required
for a complete scientific understanding of a subject. Heterodoxy refers to
those approaches to a subject that are outside of the generally accepted
mainstream. While pluralism and heterodoxy are not necessarily
inconsistent, heterodox economists tend to follow one particular
methodology or school of thought rather than taking an eclectic approach
to economic understanding, and heterodox economists often criticize
approaches other than their own. Thus, in most cases, heterodox
economists, by defending their own schools of thought and critiquing other
approaches, are not pluralistic. The paper advocates a pluralistic
approach to the social sciences over the more narrow approaches typically
promoted by heterodox schools of thought. 

Plurality in
Orthodox and Heterodox Economics (Sheila C. Dow) 
Abstract: Several
observers have noted signs of a growing plurality in mainstream economics.
At the same time there has been a growing emphasis in heterodox economics
on commonality. The purpose of this paper is to explore the nature of
plurality in economics in order to make sense of these characterisations,
and to consider the issues raised by this plurality. The critical factor
is to distinguish between plurality at the level of theory and evidence,
at the level of methodological approach (plurality of methods), and at the
meta-methodological level (a plurality of methodologies). First it is
argued that, while there is plurality at the level of theory and even of
type of evidence in orthodox economics, there continues to be monism in
terms of methodological approach, and in attitude to methodological
alternatives. In heterodox economics, the commonality of methodological
approach does not go far before emerging pluralistically into a variety of
approaches. Indeed there is, at the meta-methodological level, a range of
arguments in heterodox economics for a plurality of methodologies, that
is, a recognition that it is legitimate (if not inevitable) that there is
more than one approach to economics. 

Heterodoxy (Rick Szostak) 
Abstract: This paper draws upon the
scholarship of interdisciplinarity to argue that Economics, like all
disciplines, should be open to a wide range of theories and methods, and
the study of all relevant phenomena. A classification of the different
methods and theory types used by scholars identifies key strengths and
weaknesses of each. Different schools of heterodox [that is,
non-neoclassical] economics, as well as neoclassical economics itself,
emphasize different sets of theory and method. Each thus has a unique
contribution to make to a holistic understanding of the economy. At
present, different heterodox schools, like neoclassical economics itself,
tend to act as if it were thought that their theory and method were
superior. This paper urges a quite different attitude: different heterodox
schools, as well as neoclassical economics, should be seen as complements
rather than substitutes. That is, the insights of different schools of
thought within Economics can and should be integrated just as disciplinary
insights are integrated within interdisciplinary scholarship. The
classification also identifies valuable theory types not presently
embraced by any heterodox approach. Heterodoxy needs also to embrace the
causal linkages between economic and diverse non-economic phenomena; the
paper outlines a strategy for organizing the complex understandings that
emerge from such a project. Some might recoil at the complexity of an
academic enterprise that embraces such a wide range of phenomena, theory,
and method; this paper shows how these diverse investigations can be
organized in terms of the classifications presented such that all
economists could readily appreciate the contributions of others. The paper
also makes suggestions regarding the daily practice of heterodox
economists, and draws lessons for heterodoxy from interdisciplinary
research practice. 

>From Fragmentation to Ontologically
Reflexive Pluralism (Vinca Bigo, Ioana Negru) 
Abstract: Considerable
attention has recently been directed towards the analysis of pluralism in
social science, not least in economics. Plurality is often taken as a mark
of pluralism. But it is not the same thing, and often indicates little
more than a disconnected fragmentation of contributions to a topic. We
believe, in fact, that such fragmentation is rife in modern social
theorising, and identify numerous causes. We subsequently examine the
possibility of using an ontologically reflexive form of pluralism to
achieve a greater degree of theoretical integration between various
strands of thought than has hitherto been the case. We conclude by
stressing the need to be aware of ontological presuppositions in social
theorising. Our motivation is a concern with advancing a 'the pluralist
project' in which, where feasible, an integration of ideas takes centre

Dialectics and the Austrian School: A Surprising
Commonality in the Methodology of Heterodox Economics? (Andy Denis) 
Abstract: This paper is prompted by the concluding comments to a recent
paper (Denis "Hypostatisation"), which suggests that the
neoclassical use of the concept of equilibrium expresses a formal mode of
thought. Heterodox tendencies from Marxian to Austrian and Post Keynesian
economics, that paper continues, exemplify a dialectical mode of thought
in their common rejection of neoclassical equilibrium theorising.
Heterodox currents in economics are - particularly in terms of their
analysis and policy prescription - often as divided amongst themselves as
they are from the orthodoxy. Nevertheless, the present paper suggests,
there may be something profound uniting these disparate heterodox trends:
the adoption of a dialectical method. The paper draws on the work of
Sciabarra ("Marx", "Total"), who argues that Marxian
and Austrian economics are intellectual cousins sharing a methodological
approach. He suggests that making process primary, which we might expect
of Austrian economists, is the essence of dialectics, which we might
identify with Marxism. If that is the case, then perhaps (a) we can only
understand the method of neoclassical economics by contrasting it with a
dialectical approach, and (b) we can explore methodological common ground
between the various heterodox currents by examining their attitude, both
implicit and explicit, to dialectics. Pluralism in economics requires, not
merely toleration - though indeed it does require that - but mutual
engagement, a conversation. For that to take place we need an
understanding of what divides and unites the various approaches. This
paper is offered as a contribution to the development of that mutual

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