Galilean reflections on Milton friedman’s "methodology of positive economics," with thoughts on Vernon smith’s "economics in the laboratory"

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 35 (1):50-74 (2005)
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Abstract

In this article, the author offers a discussion of the evidential role of the Galilean constant in the history of physics. The author argues that measurable constants help theories constrain data. Theories are engines for research, and this helps explain why the Duhem-Quine thesis does not undermine scientific practice. The author connects his argument to discussion of two famous papers in the history of economic methodology, Milton Friedman's 'Methodology of Positive Economics', which appealed to example of Galilean Law of Fall in its argument; and Vernon Smith's 'Economics in the Laboratory'. While the author offers some criticism of Friedman and Smith, most of the article is a friendly reinterpretation of their insights.

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Eric Schliesser
University of Amsterdam

References found in this work

Two Dogmas of Empiricism.W. Quine - 1951 - [Longmans, Green].
The philosophical writings of Descartes.René Descartes - 1984 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Essays in Positive Economics.Milton Friedman - 1953 - University of Chicago Press.
Reconsidering Logical Positivism.Michael Friedman - 1999 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary.David Hume - 1875 - Indianapolis: Liberty Press. Edited by Eugene F. Miller.

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