Pierce, epistomology and economic theory

This is a posting by Menno Rol on the SHOE website

The heart of the epistemology of Pierce can be formulated as the claim that sticking to old beliefs is a man’s normal inclination and that this is in fact rational. In order to learn, we update old beliefs with a certain unwillingness in the face of counterevidence, facts that we stumble upon daily. The updating process runs via hypothesis making: inference to the best explanation. What counts as the best explanation depends not only on the newly encountered facts, but just as much – or even more – on our old beliefs. Again, this is rational.

Economics develops ever more into the direction of a science of information exchange – think of Levitt & Dubner’s “Freakonmics”, Constanze Binder’s “Agency, Freedom and Choice” and Frydman & Goldberg’s “Imperfect Knowledge Economics”. If this is true, then it seems that Pierce’s approach becomes ever more relevant for economists.

This may be supplemented by an earlier post:

You asked the SHOE-List about case studies on Peirce’s abductive reasoning. The following publications on Peirce’s philosophy in economics might be of interest to you, although I am not quite sure to what extent they can be considered case studies:

  • James Wible. 1998. The Economics of Science: Methodology and Epistemology as if Economics Really Mattered. Routledge. (See: Chapter 4. Also: check Index.)
  • A. W. Dyer. 1986. “Veblen on Scientific Creativity: The Influence of Charles S. Peirce” Journal of Economic Issues 20(1)
  • Altug Yalcintas. 2013. “The Problem of Epistemic Cost” American Journal of Economics and Sociology 72 (5)

How short life is when all of this is there for study if only one had the time.

1 thought on “Pierce, epistomology and economic theory

  1. Pingback: Scholars do not always change their minds – the Keynesian case « Law of Markets

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