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  1. Fictional mechanism explanations: clarifying explanatory holes in engineering science.Kristian González Barman - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (2):1-19.
    This paper discusses a class of mechanistic explanations employed in engineering science where the activities and organization of nonstandard entities are cited as core factors responsible for failures. Given the use of mechanistic language by engineers and the manifestly mechanistic structure of these explanations, I consider several interpretations of these explanations within the new mechanical framework. I argue that these interpretations fail to solve several philosophical problems and propose an account of fictional mechanism explanations instead. According to this account, fictional (...)
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  • Generalization Bias in Science.Uwe Peters, Alexander Krauss & Oliver Braganza - 2022 - Cognitive Science 1 (9).
    Many scientists routinely generalize from study samples to larger populations. It is commonly assumed that this cognitive process of scientific induction is a voluntary inference in which researchers assess the generalizability of their data and then draw conclusions accordingly. Here we challenge this view and argue for a novel account. The account describes scientific induction as involving by default a generalization bias that operates automatically and frequently leads researchers to unintentionally generalize their findings without sufficient evidence. The result is unwarranted, (...)
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  • A Unificationist Defence of Revealed Preferences.Kate Vredenburgh - 2020 - Economics and Philosophy 36 (1):149-169.
    Revealed preference approaches to modelling agents’ choices face two seemingly devastating explanatory objections. The no self-explanation objection imputes a problematic explanatory circularity to revealed preference approaches, while the causal explanation objection argues that, all things equal, a scientific theory should provide causal explanations, but revealed preference approaches decidedly do not. Both objections assume a view of explanation, the constraint-based view, that the revealed preference theorist ought to reject. Instead, the revealed preference theorist should adopt a unificationist account of explanation, allowing (...)
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  • Generalization Bias in Science.Uwe Peters, Alexander Krauss & Oliver Braganza - 2022 - Cognitive Science 46 (9).
    Cognitive Science, Volume 46, Issue 9, September 2022.
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  • The Role of Unification in Micro-Explanations of Physical Laws.Erik Weber & Merel Lefevere - 2014 - Theoria 29 (1):41-56.
    In the literature on scientific explanation, there is a classical distinction between explanations of facts and explanations of laws. This paper is about explanations of laws, more specifically mechanistic explanations of laws. We investigate whether providing unificatory information in mechanistic explanations of laws has a surplus value. Unificatory information is information about how the mechanism that explains the law which is our target relates to other mechanisms. We argue that providing unificatory information can lead to explanations with more explanatory power (...)
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  • Three Accounts of Intrinsic Motivation in Economics: A Pragmatic Choice?Blaž Remic - 2021 - Journal of Economic Methodology 29 (2):124-139.
    This paper argues that the concept of intrinsic motivation has been used by economists in inconsistent ways because the underlying theories of intrinsic motivation, imported into economics from psy...
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  • Unifying Theories of Institutions: A Critique of Pettit’s Virtual Control Theory.Frank Hindriks - 2022 - Journal of Economic Methodology 29 (2):166-177.
    To unify rival theories is to combine their key insights into a single coherent framework. It is often achieved by integrating the theories and forging new connections between their explanatory fac...
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  • Unifying Theories of Institutions: A Critique of Pettit’s Virtual Control Theory.Frank Hindriks - forthcoming - Tandf: Journal of Economic Methodology:1-12.
  • Notes on Economics Imperialism and Norms of Scientific Inquiry.Uskali Mäki - 2021 - Revue de Philosophie Économique 1:95-127.
  • Rules, Equilibria and Virtual Control: How to Explain Persistence, Resilience and Fragility.Frank Hindriks - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-23.
    Institutions are often regarded either as rules or as equilibria sustained by self-interested agents. I ask how these two theories can be combined. According to Philip Pettit’s Virtual Control Theory, they explain different things: rules explain why regularities persist; self-interest why they are resilient. Thus, his theory reconciles the two theories by adjusting their domains of application. However, the available evidence suggests that rules and self-interest often combine as sources of motivation. Because of this, it is better to integrate the (...)
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  • Explanatory Unification in Experimental Philosophy: Let’s Keep It Real.Frank Hindriks - 2019 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 10 (1):219-242.
    Experimental philosophers have discovered a large number of asymmetries in our intuitions about philosophically significant notions. Often those intuitions turned out to be sensitive to normative factors. Whereas optimists have insisted on a unified explanation of these findings, pessimists have argued that it is impossible to formulate a single factor explanation. I defend the intermediate position according to which unification is possible to some extent, but should be pursued within limits. The key issue that I address is how it is (...)
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  • Unification, the Answer to Resemblance Questions.Erik Weber & Merel Lefevere - 2017 - Synthese 194 (9):3501-3521.
    In the current literature on scientific explanation unification became unfashionable in favour of causal approaches. We want to bring unification back into the picture. In this paper we demonstrate that resemblance questions do occur in scientific practice and that they cannot be properly answered without unification. Our examples show that resemblance questions about particular facts demand what we call causal network unification, while resemblance questions about regularities require what we call mechanism unification. We clarify how these types of unification relate (...)
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  • Context in Mechanism-Based Explanation.Gianluca Pozzoni & Tuukka Kaidesoja - 2021 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 51 (6):523-554.
    In this article, we discuss the issue of context-dependence of mechanism-based explanation in the social sciences. The different ways in which the context-dependence and context-independence of mechanism-based explanation have been understood in the social sciences are often motivated by different and apparently incompatible understandings of what explanatory mechanisms are. Instead, we suggest that the different varieties of context-dependence are best seen as corresponding to different research goals. Rather than conflicting with one another, these goals are complementary to each other and (...)
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  • Economics Imperialism and Solution Concepts in Political Science.Jaakko Kuorikoski & Aki Lehtinen - 2010 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 40 (3):347-374.
    Political science and economic science . . . make use of the same language, the same mode of abstraction, the same instruments of thought and the same method of reasoning. (Black 1998, 354) Proponents as well as opponents of economics imperialism agree that imperialism is a matter of unification; providing a unified framework for social scientific analysis. Uskali Mäki distinguishes between derivational and ontological unification and argues that the latter should serve as a constraint for the former. We explore whether, (...)
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  • Rewriting Color.B. A. C. Saunders & J. Van Brakel - 2001 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 31 (4):538-556.
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  • Economics Imperialism: Concept and Constraints.Uskali Mäki - 2009 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 39 (3):351-380.
    The paper seeks to offer [1] an explication of a concept of economics imperialism, focusing on its epistemic aspects; and [2] criteria for its normative assessment. In regard to [1], the defining notion is that of explanatory unification across disciplinary boundaries. As to [2], three kinds of constraints are proposed. An ontological constraint requires an increased degree of ontological unification in contrast to mere derivational unification. An axiological constraint derives from variation in the perceived relative significance of the facts explained. (...)
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  • False Models as Explanatory Engines.Frank Hindriks - 2008 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 38 (3):334-360.
    Many models in economics are very unrealistic. At the same time, economists put a lot of effort into making their models more realistic. I argue that in many cases, including the Modigliani-Miller irrelevance theorem investigated in this paper, the purpose of this process of concretization is explanatory. When evaluated in combination with their assumptions, a highly unrealistic model may well be true. The purpose of relaxing an unrealistic assumption, then, need not be to move from a false model to a (...)
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  • Scientific Explanation and Understanding: Unificationism Reconsidered.Sorin Bangu - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (1):103-126.
    The articulation of an overarching account of scientific explanation has long been a central preoccupation for the philosophers of science. Although a while ago the literature was dominated by two approaches—a causal account and a unificationist account—today the consensus seems to be that the causal account has won. In this paper, I challenge this consensus and attempt to revive unificationism. More specifically, I aim to accomplish three goals. First, I add new criticisms to the standard anti-unificationist arguments, in order to (...)
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  • The Moral Trial: On Ethics and Economics.Alessandro Lanteri - 2008 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 1 (1):188-189.
  • Engineering Ontologies: Foundations and Theories From Philosophy and Logical Theory.Nicola Guarino & Barry Smith - 2006 - In SemanticMining: Semantic Interoperability and Data Mining in Biomedicine (NoE 507505). 1 Deliverable D.21.2. pp. 1-13.
    Ontology as a branch of philosophy is the science of what is, of the kinds and structures of objects, properties, events, processes and relations in every area of reality. ‘Ontology’ is often used by philosophers as a synonym for ‘metaphysics’ (literally: ‘what comes after the Physics’), a term which was used by early students of Aristotle to refer to what Aristotle himself called ‘first philosophy’. The term ‘ontology’ (or ontologia) was itself coined in 1613, independently, by two philosophers, Rudolf Göckel (...)
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  • Explanatory Pluralism and Complementarity: From Autonomy to Integration.Caterina Marchionni - 2008 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 38 (3):314-333.
    Philosophers of the social sciences are increasingly convinced that macro-and micro-explanations are complementary. Whereas macro-explanations are broad, micro-explanations are deep. I distinguish between weak and strong complementarity: Strongly complementary explanations improve one another when integrated, weakly complementary explanations do not. To demonstrate the explanatory autonomy of different levels of explanation, explanatory pluralists mostly presuppose the weak form of complementarity. By scrutinizing the notions of explanatory depth and breadth, I argue that macro- and micro-accounts of the same phenomenon are more often (...)
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  • I modelli in economia.Alessandra Basso & Caterina Marchionni - 2015 - Aphex 11.
    The paper reviews the philosophical literature on the epistemology of modelling in contemporary economics. In particular, it focuses on open questions concerning the epistemic role of models, the validity of inferences from the models to the world, and the legitimacy of their use for purposes of explanation, prediction and intervention.
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  • Is Geographical Economics Imperializing Economic Geography?Uskali Mäki & Caterina Marchionni - 2011 - Journal of Economic Geography 11 (4):645-665.
    Geographical economics (also known as the ‘new economic geography’) is an approach developed within economics dealing with space and geography, issues previously neglected by the mainstream of the discipline. Some practitioners in neighbouring fields traditionally concerned with spatial issues (descriptively) characterized it as—and (normatively) blamed it for—intellectual imperialism. We provide a nuanced analysis of the alleged imperialism of geographical economics and investigate whether the form of imperialism it allegedly instantiates is to be resisted and on what grounds. From both descriptive (...)
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  • Narrowing the Theory’s or Study’s Scope May Increase Practical Relevance.Mikko Siponen & Tuula Klaavuniemi - 2019 - In Proceedings of the 52nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. pp. 6260-6269.
    Numerous articles in top IS journals note as a limitation and lack of generalizability that their findings are specific to a certain type of technology, culture, and so on. We argue that this generalizability concern is about limited scope. The IS literature notes this preference for generalizability as a characteristic of good science and it is sometimes confused with statistical generalizability. We argue that such generalizability can be in conflict with explanation or prediction accuracy. An increase in scope can decrease (...)
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  • Rethinking Unification : Unification as an Explanatory Value in Scientific Practice.Merel Lefevere - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Ghent
    This dissertation starts with a concise overview of what philosophers of science have written about unification and its role in scientific explanation during the last 50 years to provide the reader with some background knowledge. In order to bring unification back into the picture, I have followed two strategies, resulting respectively in Parts I and II of this dissertation. In Part I the idea of unification is used to refine and enrich the dominant causalmechanist and causal-interventionist accounts of scientific explanation. (...)
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  • Ontologia e sistemi informativi.Barry Smith - 2006 - Networks 6:137-164.
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  • Realistic Realism About Unrealistic Models.Uskali Mäki - 2009 - In Harold Kincaid & Don Ross (eds.), The Oxford handbook of philosophy of economics. Oxford University Press.
    My philosophical intuitions are those of a scientific realist. In addition to being realist in its philosophical outlook, my philosophy of economics also aspires to be realistic in the sense of being descriptively adequate, or at least normatively non-utopian, about economics as a scientific discipline. The special challenge my 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 (...)
     
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  • Explanatory Pluralism and Complementarity. From Autonomy to Integration.Marchionni Caterina - 2008 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 38 (3):314-333.
    Philosophers of the social sciences are increasingly convinced that macro-and micro-explanations are complementary. Whereas macro-explanations are broad, micro-explanations are deep. I distinguish between weak and strong complementarity: Strongly complementary explanations improve one another when integrated, weakly complementary explanations do not. To demonstrate the explanatory autonomy of different levels of explanation, explanatory pluralists mostly presuppose the weak form of complementarity. By scrutinizing the notions of explanatory depth and breadth, I argue that macro- and micro-accounts of the same phenomenon are more often (...)
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  • Scientific Explanation.C. Mantzavinos - 2015 - In International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Elsevier. pp. 302-307.
    There are three main approaches to scientific explanation in the philosophical literature. The unification approach claims that science explains by fitting the particular facts and events within a general theoretical framework. The mechanistic approach claims that science explains by identifying mechanisms. According to the manipulationist approach an explanation ought to be such that it can be used to answer a “what-if-things-had-been-different question.” The article examines whether these three approaches are compatible or not in the case of the social sciences, and (...)
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  • Mathematics and Explanatory Generality.Alan Baker - 2017 - Philosophia Mathematica 25 (2):194-209.
    According to one popular nominalist picture, even when mathematics features indispensably in scientific explanations, this mathematics plays only a purely representational role: physical facts are represented, and these exclusively carry the explanatory load. I think that this view is mistaken, and that there are cases where mathematics itself plays an explanatory role. I distinguish two kinds of explanatory generality: scope generality and topic generality. Using the well-known periodical-cicada example, and also a new case study involving bicycle gears, I argue that (...)
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  • The Structure of Scientific Theories, Explanation, and Unification. A Causal–Structural Account.Bert Leuridan - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (4):717-771.
    What are scientific theories and how should they be represented? In this article, I propose a causal–structural account, according to which scientific theories are to be represented as sets of interrelated causal and credal nets. In contrast with other accounts of scientific theories (such as Sneedian structuralism, Kitcher’s unificationist view, and Darden’s theory of theoretical components), this leaves room for causality to play a substantial role. As a result, an interesting account of explanation is provided, which sheds light on explanatory (...)
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  • Symposium on Explanations and Social Ontology 2: Explanatory Ecumenism and Economics Imperialism.Uskali Mäki - 2002 - Economics and Philosophy 18 (2):235-257.
    In a series of insightful publications, Philip Pettit and Frank Jackson have argued for an explanatory ecumenism that is designed to justify a variety of types of social scientific explanation of different , including structural and rational choice explanations. Their arguments are put in terms of different kinds of explanatory information; the distinction between causal efficacy, causal relevance and explanatory relevance within their program model of explanation; and virtual reality and resilience explanation. The arguments are here assessed from the point (...)
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  • On the Structure of Explanatory Unification: The Case of Geographical Economics.Uskali Mäki & Caterina Marchionni - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (2):185-195.
    A newly emerged field within economics, known as geographical economics claims to have provided a unified approach to the study of spatial agglomerations at different spatial scales by showing how these can be traced back to the same basic economic mechanisms. We analyze this contemporary episode of explanatory unification in relation to major philosophical accounts of unification. In particular, we examine the role of argument patterns in unifying derivations, the role of ontological convictions and mathematical structures in shaping unification, the (...)
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  • Two Concepts of Mechanism: Componential Causal System and Abstract Form of Interaction.Jaakko Kuorikoski - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (2):143 – 160.
    Although there has been much recent discussion on mechanisms in philosophy of science and social theory, no shared understanding of the crucial concept itself has emerged. In this paper, a distinction between two core concepts of mechanism is made on the basis that the concepts correspond to two different research strategies: the concept of mechanism as a componential causal system is associated with the heuristic of functional decomposition and spatial localization and the concept of mechanism as an abstract form of (...)
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  • Is Mathematics a Domain for Philosophers of Explanation?Erik Weber & Joachim Frans - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (1):125-142.
    In this paper we discuss three interrelated questions. First: is explanation in mathematics a topic that philosophers of mathematics can legitimately investigate? Second: are the specific aims that philosophers of mathematical explanation set themselves legitimate? Finally: are the models of explanation developed by philosophers of science useful tools for philosophers of mathematical explanation? We argue that the answer to all these questions is positive. Our views are completely opposite to the views that Mark Zelcer has put forward recently. Throughout this (...)
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  • Wesley Salmon's Complementarity Thesis: Causalism and Unificationism Reconciled?Henk W. de Regt - 2006 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 20 (2):129 – 147.
    In his later years, Wesley Salmon believed that the two dominant models of scientific explanation (his own causal-mechanical model and the unificationist model) were reconcilable. Salmon envisaged a 'new consensus' about explanation: he suggested that the two models represent two 'complementary' types of explanation, which may 'peacefully coexist' because they illuminate different aspects of scientific understanding. This paper traces the development of Salmon's ideas and presents a critical analysis of his complementarity thesis. Salmon's thesis is rejected on the basis of (...)
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  • The Explanation Paradox.Julian Reiss - 2012 - Journal of Economic Methodology 19 (1):43-62.
    This paper examines mathematical models in economics and observes that three mutually inconsistent hypotheses concerning models and explanation are widely held: (1) economic models are false; (2) economic models are nevertheless explanatory; and (3) only true accounts explain. Commentators have typically resolved the paradox by rejecting either one of these hypotheses. I will argue that none of the proposed resolutions work and conclude that therefore the paradox is genuine and likely to stay.
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  • Economics Imperialism and Epistemic Cosmopolitanism.Kristina Rolin - 2015 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 29 (4):413-429.
    The standard view on economics imperialism is that it should be resisted when it is epistemically or morally harmful. I argue that the moral dimension of economics imperialism is in need of further analysis. In my view, economics imperialism is wrong when imperialists violate the epistemic responsibility they have towards scientists working in the discipline that is the target for imperialist explorations. By epistemic responsibility, I refer to a moral duty to justify one’s knowledge claims to a particular audience so (...)
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  • On a Paradox of Truth, or How Not to Obscure the Issue of Whether Explanatory Models Can Be True.Uskali Mäki - 2013 - Journal of Economic Methodology 20 (3):268 - 279.
    It is argued that Reiss (2012) fails to refute attempts to resolve the paradox of false explanatory models. His article fails to provide an articulate conception of what exactly the presumed paradox is, it suffers from uncontrolled ambiguities and inconsistencies, and it fails to adequately address accounts of economic models that might contribute to reconciling their apparent falsehood and explanatoriness. Some details in my account of how apparently false models may explain are clarified.
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  • Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics, Edited by Harold Kincaid and Don Ross. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009, 688 Pp. [REVIEW]Caterina Marchionni - 2010 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 3 (2):95.
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  • Reformational Economic Theory.Adolfo García de la Sienra - 2001 - Philosophia Reformata 66 (1):70-83.
  • Introduction: Interdisciplinary Model Exchanges.Till Grüne-Yanoff & Uskali Mäki - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 48:52-59.
    The five studies of this special section investigate the role of models and similar representational tools in interdisciplinarity. These studies were all written by philosophers of science, who focused on interdisciplinary episodes between disciplines and sub-disciplines ranging from physics, chemistry and biology to the computational sciences, sociology and economics. The reasons we present these divergent studies in a collective form are three. First, we want to establish model-exchange as a kind of interdisciplinary event. The five case studies, which are summarized (...)
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  • Idealization and the Aims of Economics: Three Cheers for Instrumentalism: Julian Reiss.Julian Reiss - 2012 - Economics and Philosophy 28 (3):363-383.
    This paper aims to provide characterizations of realism and instrumentalism that are philosophically interesting and applicable to economics; and to defend instrumentalism against realism as a methodological stance in economics. Starting point is the observation that ‘all models are false’, which, or so I argue, is difficult to square with the realist's aim of truth, even if the latter is understood as ‘partial’ or ‘approximate’. The three cheers in favour of instrumentalism are: Once we have usefulness, truth is redundant. There (...)
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  • Realism From the ‘Lands of Kaleva’: An Interview with Uskali Mäki.Uskali Mäki - 2008 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 1 (1):124-146.
    USKALI MÄKI (Helsinki, 1951) is a philosopher of science and a social scientist, and one of the forerunners of the strong wave of research on the philosophy and methodology of economics that has been expanding during the last three decades. His research interests and academic contributions cover many topics in the philosophy of economics, such as realism and realisticness, idealisation, scientific modelling, causation, explanation, rhetoric, the sociology and economics of economics, and the foundations of new institutional and Austrian economics. He (...)
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  • 'The Methodology of Positive Economics' (1953) Does Not Give Usthemethodology of Positive Economics.Uskali Mäki - 2003 - Journal of Economic Methodology 10 (4):495-505.
    It is argued that rather than a well defined F?Twist, Milton Friedman's ?Methodology of positive economics? offers an F?Mix: a pool of ambiguous and inconsistent ingredients that can be used for putting together a number of different methodological positions. This concerns issues such as the very concept of being unrealistic, the goal of predictive tests, the as?if formulation of theories, explanatory unification, social construction, and more. Both friends and foes of Friedman's essay have ignored its open?ended unclarities. Their removal may (...)
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  • Rights and Wrongs of Economic Modelling: Refining Rodrik.Uskali Mäki - 2018 - Journal of Economic Methodology 25 (3):218-236.
    ABSTRACTThis is a critical discussion and proposed refinement of the inspiring account of the successes and failures of economic modelling sketched in Dani Rodrik’s Economics Rules. The refinements make use of a systematic framework of the structure of scientific modelling. The issues include distinguishing the discipline of economics from the behaviour and attitudes of economists as targets of normative assessment; nature and sources of success and failure in modelling; the key role of model commentary; model transparency; purposes and audiences of (...)
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  • The Roles of Integration in Molecular Systems Biology.Maureen A. O’Malley & Orkun S. Soyer - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):58-68.
  • The Roles of Integration in Molecular Systems Biology.Maureen A. O’Malley & Orkun S. Soyer - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):58-68.
  • On the Philosophy of the New Kiosk Economics of Everything.Uskali Mäki - 2012 - Journal of Economic Methodology 19 (3):219-230.
    The article suggests a list of principles that guide this new genre of popular writing in and on economics: the new kiosk economics of everything. These well-selling books seek to show how the simple ideas of economics are able to reveal hidden mechanisms that unify a surprising variety of everyday phenomena and by doing so entertain their readers and improve the public image of economics. It is also argued that there is a special limited sense in which this qualifies as (...)
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