Bogusław Czarny, Ryszard Rapacki. SGH, – 51 pages Podstawy ekonomii / pod red. Bogusława Czarnego i Ryszarda Rapackiego. Editors, Bogusław. Bogusław Czarny A Textbook of Economic Methodology from Amsterdam (on Marcel Boumans and John B. Davis’ book Economic Methodology. Understanding. Bogusław Czarny Oskar Lange (−), i.a. Ekonomia polityczna () Dobrska (−), Jan Drewnowski (−), Bogusław Fiedor (b.

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Davis’ book Economic Methodology. Davis entitled Economic Methodology. Understanding Economics As A Science. In the “Preface,” the authors say that this work, built on the experience of many colleagues, “is the product of a decade of teaching economic methodology at the University of Amsterdam” p.

I will add that, as far as I know, this is either one of very few or maybe even the first ever comprehensive textbook concerned exclusively with this new field of economics, fully established only in the eighth decade of the 20th century and since then fast expanding, i. The book by Boumans and Davis consists of seven chapters. In the first six chapters, the authors describe the development of the philosophy of science and, in this context, the development of economic methodology, from logical positivists to the rhetoric approach?

McCloskey popular at the beginning of the 21st century. The seventh and last chapter spoils the logic of this analysis, organized along both historical and conceptual lines, because it has a special status and concerns value judgments in economics. At the end of every chapter, three short sections are located, which extend the discussion and make it more detailed. All chapters also include review questions and suggestions for further reading.

In the first chapter “The Skonomii View of Science” Boumans and Davis inspect the view of logical positivists on the nature of science. The authors examine the legacy of the “Vienna Circle,” among others the principle of verifiability, the demarcation criterion, the distinction between syntactics and semantics, between the context boguwaw discovery and the context of justification, between the theoretical and the factual.

Views of logical positivists on the nature of scientific explanation are presented Hempel’s deductive-nomological model of scientific explanation and symmetry thesis of explanation and prediction. Boumans and Davis also analyze critique ekonomio by the authors of these concepts.

The second chapter entitled “Methodologies of Positive Economics” concerns the impact of logical positivism on economics in the 20th century. It discusses the emergence podtsawy development of econometrics and the disputes between John M.

Generally, it presents a picture of the evolution of methodological beliefs of economists in the 20th century under the impact of logical positivism: The third chapter is entitled “Popper’s Logic of Discovery. The mechanism of knowledge evolution knowledge growth according to Popper is presented.

The exposition of Popper’s views on social sciences includes his critique of historicism, and a supplement bogusxw the ekpnomii analyses Popper’s method of “situational analysis. Boumans and David analyze in detail the views of Kuhn e. In the fifth chapter “The Sociology of Scientific Knowledge” ekonoomii Economic Methodology, the authors study the “sociological theory of scientific knowledge” and the “economic theory of scientific knowledge.

One of foci at the end of this chapter presents achievements of feminist economics e. The sixth chapter “Rhetoric, Postmodernism, and Pluralism” concerns mainly the so-called rhetoric approach in the methodology of economics among others, critical views of Deirdre N. McCloskey on positivism are inspected. Here, economics is seen as conversation, with participants obeying certain rules e. During such conversation, economists use persuasive methods, often of literary nature.


Examples include analogies, metaphors, “stories” e. In the same chapter, the authors examine Postmodernism in economic methodology a heterogeneous branch of culture, referring to Bougsaw Neostructuralism and ekonpmii pluralism the popular postulate to accept differentiated methods ekonoomii reaching the truth about the behaviour of economic agents. The seventh and last chapter of Boumans and Davis’ Economic Methodology is entitled “Value Judgments in Economics” and has, as mentioned, a special status, so it deserves special attention as well.

The authors criticize here podstawj standard view about the need of value-free, positive economics. This is surprising, because for me the function of a textbook seems to be rather to present widely accepted views of scholars of some branch of science. And if the role of value judgments in economics is really controversial and economists’ views on this matter differ considerably, the best method to deal with it would be, in my opinion, to present the most important arguments of the participants of these disputes and let students assess the quality of these arguments.

However, the authors of Economic Methodology have chosen a different solution, supporting the view of the opponents of value-free positive economics and arguing only for e,onomii position. Thus, Boumans and Davis criticize the standard view that value-free positive economics is advisable and possible. Their position is very clear.

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Indeed, it can be shown that value judgments enter into economics in a number of distinct ways: Further, the authors present four detailed arguments to support the thesis that economics is a mixture of factual statements and value judgments, and that value judgments have a much more important function in economics than it is generally believed. First, Boumans and Davis show that economists inevitably accept methodological value judgments e.

Second, they extensively cite Gunnar Myrdal to emphasize “value-ladenness” of individual terms and entire explanations in economics. Third, they argue that value judgments which are widespread in economics often as in case of rational choice theory support specific ethical views.

Fourth, they insist that explanations of economic phenomena offered by economists incorporate accommodateand have to incorporate, ethical values and moral norms, which are accepted by economic agents. In my view, the main problem with these opinions of Boumans and Davis is that they all contradict the thesis about the nonexistence of any connection of economics with value judgments. Yet, in my opinion, such thesis is not the standard view of those economists who argue that value-free, positive economics is advisable and possible.

First, czarng is true that economists like, e. But proponents of value-free, positive economics neither contradict nor criticize this practice, which is easy ekomomii show, e. All they want is to make the content of economists’ statements value-free. It is true that Milton Friedman wanted to free economics from value judgments to make it an “objective science”, but it does not matter that, in his opinion, economics can and should have no connection with czarhy judgments at all.

Namely, Friedman’s view was that economics should be objective “in precisely the same sense as any of the physical sciences” Friedmanp. It means, then, that Friedman did not want economists to stop accepting methodological value judgments like, e. Second, terms used by economists are sometimes ambiguous and really can have shades of meaning which suggest valuation.

Yet, in such situations any possible misunderstanding can be, in my opinion, relatively easily avoided. The condition is that the author clearly shows his or her intentions. This way, for instance, one can eliminate the risk that the term “Pareto optimum” will be regarded by a student reading an economic czary as the name of an advisable ethical ideal and not as the name of a certain state of the economy whose desirability is an open question. In my opinion, a very similar view on the podstasy, if not the same view, was held, e.


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The authors disregard also the question why particularly in pofstawy “value-loaded” terms have to cause dangerous “contamination” of scientific knowledge with value judgments. In the czanry way, a similar problem concerns, e. In this context, I will stress once again that supporters of the ideal of value-free economics for many decades argued only that czaarny can be and should be value-free “in precisely the same sense as any of the physical sciences” Friedmanp.

Third, Boumans and Davis argue that value judgments widespread in economics can sometimes support specific ethical views. Their example is a misunderstanding which can be caused by “value-loadedness” of the term “rational”. Namely, explanations proposed in rational choice theory see as rational or as ethically good behaviour consistent with preferences of an acting agent, and not some different behaviour e.

Yet, in my opinion, such risk of identifying “rational” with “good” is very small. Once again, in my view, it can be minimized, e. Fourth, Boumans and Ekono,ii show that explanations of economic phenomena incorporate ethical values and moral norms accepted by economic agents.

This is often a precondition of the adequateness of these explanations. However, supporters of value-free economics do not negate this opinion; once again, e. Interestingly, some scholars maintain that in such situations a necessary condition of the proper usage of certain value judgments as parts of explanations of human behaviour is their these value judgements acceptance Boumans and David do not argue this way, however.

Putnam calls such terms “thick” ethical concepts. In his view, in order to use such a term as, e. Hausman and Michael S. McPherson have argued similarlypp. In my opinion, however, valuation is not a necessary condition of adequate describing.

As Abraham Kaplan after Ernst Nagel expresses it, “we can say that someone is a ‘good Nazi’ without necessarily meaning thereby that being a Nazi is in any way good; we are saying only that certain fzarny are present in that instance without committing ourselves as to whether they are worthy of approval Although appraisals may entail certain characteristics, we can characterize without appraising” Kaplanp. In short, it is one thing to understand the content of value judgments, and another thing to evaluate them.

I will add that, e. Apart from doubts expressed in the second part of this review of Boumans and Davis’ textbook, I am of the opinion that the work podatawy an excellent introductory survey text for all interested in the methodology of economics.

In particular, it can be a good starting point for self-study of economic methodology. This is due not only to Economic Methodology being a textbook, but also to the work’s simplicity and clarity. Methodology for Behavioral Science, Chandler Pub. Shils and Henry A. Kiel, August the 30th,