Ghent University Academic Bibliography

Advanced

Four species of reflexivity and history of economics in economic policy science

Eric Schliesser (2011) JOURNAL OF THE PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY. 5(3). p.425-444
abstract
This paper argues that history of economics has a fruitful, underappreciated role to play in the development of economics, especially when understood as a policy science. This goes against the grain of the last half century during which economics, which has undergone a formal revolution, has distanced itself from its 'literary' past and practices precisely with the aim to be a more successful policy science. The paper motivates the thesis by identifying and distinguishing four kinds of reflexivity in economics. The main thesis of this paper is that because these forms of reflexivity are not eliminable, the history of economics must play a constitutive role in economics (and graduate education within economics). An assumption that I clarify in this paper is that the history of economics ought to be part of the subject matter studied by economics when they are interested in policy science. Even if one does not accept the conclusion, the fourfold classification of reflexivity might hold independent interest. The paper is divided in two parts. First, by reflecting on the writings of George Stigler, Paul Samuelson, George and Milton Friedman, I offer a stylized historical introduction to and conceptualization of the themes of this paper. In particular, I identify various historically influential arguments and strategies that reduced the role of history of economics within the economics discipline. In it I also canvass six arguments that try to capture the cost to economics (understood as a science) for sidelining the history of economics from within the discipline. A sub-text of the introduction is that for contingent reasons, post World War II economics evolved into a policy science. Second, by drawing on the work of Kenneth Boulding, in particular, George Soros, Thomas Merton, Gordon Tullock, I distinguish between four species of reflexivity. These are used to then strengthen the argument for the constitutive role of the history of economics within the economics profession. In particular, I argue that so-called Kuhn-losses are especially pernicious when faced with policy choices under so-called Knightian uncertainty.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
RATIONAL-EXPECTATIONS, Philosophic Prophecy, Reflexivity, History of Economics, Public Policy, Methodology, Knightian Uncertainty
journal title
JOURNAL OF THE PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY
J. Philos. Hist.
volume
5
issue
3
pages
425 - 444
Web of Science type
Article
Web of Science id
000304716600008
ISSN
1872-261X
DOI
10.1163/187226311X599899
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A1
copyright statement
I have transferred the copyright for this publication to the publisher
id
1908574
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-1908574
date created
2011-09-23 19:51:37
date last changed
2016-12-19 15:46:41
@article{1908574,
  abstract     = {This paper argues that history of economics has a fruitful, underappreciated role to play in the development of economics, especially when understood as a policy science. This goes against the grain of the last half century during which economics, which has undergone a formal revolution, has distanced itself from its 'literary' past and practices precisely with the aim to be a more successful policy science. The paper motivates the thesis by identifying and distinguishing four kinds of reflexivity in economics. The main thesis of this paper is that because these forms of reflexivity are not eliminable, the history of economics must play a constitutive role in economics (and graduate education within economics). An assumption that I clarify in this paper is that the history of economics ought to be part of the subject matter studied by economics when they are interested in policy science. Even if one does not accept the conclusion, the fourfold classification of reflexivity might hold independent interest. The paper is divided in two parts. First, by reflecting on the writings of George Stigler, Paul Samuelson, George and Milton Friedman, I offer a stylized historical introduction to and conceptualization of the themes of this paper. In particular, I identify various historically influential arguments and strategies that reduced the role of history of economics within the economics discipline. In it I also canvass six arguments that try to capture the cost to economics (understood as a science) for sidelining the history of economics from within the discipline. A sub-text of the introduction is that for contingent reasons, post World War II economics evolved into a policy science. Second, by drawing on the work of Kenneth Boulding, in particular, George Soros, Thomas Merton, Gordon Tullock, I distinguish between four species of reflexivity. These are used to then strengthen the argument for the constitutive role of the history of economics within the economics profession. In particular, I argue that so-called Kuhn-losses are especially pernicious when faced with policy choices under so-called Knightian uncertainty.},
  author       = {Schliesser, Eric},
  issn         = {1872-261X},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF THE PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY},
  keyword      = {RATIONAL-EXPECTATIONS,Philosophic Prophecy,Reflexivity,History of Economics,Public Policy,Methodology,Knightian Uncertainty},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {425--444},
  title        = {Four species of reflexivity and history of economics in economic policy science},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/187226311X599899},
  volume       = {5},
  year         = {2011},
}

Chicago
Schliesser, Eric. 2011. “Four Species of Reflexivity and History of Economics in Economic Policy Science.” Journal of the Philosophy of History 5 (3): 425–444.
APA
Schliesser, E. (2011). Four species of reflexivity and history of economics in economic policy science. JOURNAL OF THE PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY, 5(3), 425–444.
Vancouver
1.
Schliesser E. Four species of reflexivity and history of economics in economic policy science. JOURNAL OF THE PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY. 2011;5(3):425–44.
MLA
Schliesser, Eric. “Four Species of Reflexivity and History of Economics in Economic Policy Science.” JOURNAL OF THE PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 5.3 (2011): 425–444. Print.