Realistic Realism about Unrealistic Models

Uskali Mäki

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780195189254
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199892105 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Realistic Realism about Unrealistic Models

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The special challenge the philosophy of economics must meet is to provide a scientific realist account that is realistic of a discipline that deals with a complex subject matter and operates with highly unrealistic models. Unrealisticness in economic models must not constitute an obstacle to realism about those models. This article gives a selective and somewhat abstract summary of its author's thinking about economics, outlined from two perspectives: first historical and autobiographical, then systematic and comparative. The first angle helps understand motives and trajectories of ideas against their backgrounds in intellectual history. The story of this article turns out to have both unique and generalizable aspects. The second approach outlines some of the key concepts and arguments as well as their interrelations in this chapter's philosophy of economics, with occasional comparisons to other views. More space is devoted to this second perspective than to the first.

Keywords: philosophy; economics; unrealistic models; economic models; realism

Article.  14307 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Metaphysics

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