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Pluralist economics: is it scientific?

Goldsmiths, University of London

Room LG01, Professor Stuart Hall Building, ew Cross, London, SE14 6NW
20 Jan 2017 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m., Goldsmiths, University of London

Professor Sheila Dow will be talking on 'Pluralist economics: is it scientific?'



The aim is to set the scene for a discussion of teaching from a pluralist perspective by considering how we produce, and convey, reliable knowledge in economics. Using Kuhn’s framework as a basis for considering different understandings of what constitutes reliable knowledge (propagated through teaching), we focus on the different understandings within mainstream economics and within non-mainstream paradigms. Keynes’s epistemology (as developed in A Treatise on Probability) is then explored as a basis for a pluralist approach to economic knowledge. The mainstream critique of alternative approaches to knowledge, interpreted as ‘anything goes’, is addressed and the argument developed that a pluralist approach generates more reliable knowledge than the monist mainstream approach. This analysis leads to a set of positive and negative heuristics as a guide for pluralist economists as researchers. Some implications are then drawn for pluralist teaching of economics. The case is made for teaching by debates, drawing on history of thought and methodology.

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