Ideology and Science in Economic Theory

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Abstract

This paper argues, using a development of Kuhn’s notion of paradigm, that all economic theories are to some extent ideological.  This does not mean, however, that economic theories are necessarily purely ideological.  An economic theory might be both ideological and scientific.  To investigate whether an economic theory is scientific we need a criterion for the scientificity of a theory.  The paper first considers one approach to this problem due to Kant, but this is rejected as incorrect and called ‘the Kantian fallacy’.  Another approach is then put forward: ‘the empirical confirmation principle’, and reasons are given for accepting this as correct.  Using this principle, it is then argued that that neoclassical economics is purely ideological, but that Keynes’ theory is scientific as well as being ideological.

Posted for comments on 12 Dec 2019, 10:05 am.

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