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Epistemology & Philosophy of Science

Volume 55, Issue 3, 2018

Álvaro Martins Siqueira
Pages 188-201

Critical Realism and the Ontological Critique of Economics Methodology

The objective of this paper is to defend the importance of ontological critique of the mainstream economics. To do so, we examine the methodological arguments of Tony Lawson who, inspired by the critical realism philosophy, advocates in favor of realistic, non-deductive and ontology-aware economics to solve problems of contemporary economic theory. This article proposes that, although correct in the logic of its argument, Lawson’s critique of the mainstream is not able to explain the social reasons for its existence and reproduction. And if so, Lawson’s critique is not ontological. It can be stated that a project of generally reorienting economics methodology is impossible in case the social reason for its orthodox existence is maintained. Some substantial insights can be found in the Marx’s ontological critique of capitalism and also in the Critical Realism philosophy. Therefore, we propose an explanation for the enduring deductivism and empirical realism in economics from a Marxist perspective.

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