Methodology of Economics & Philosophy of Science
Do we have ex-ante knowledge of the motivations underlying people's behaviour, or is the knowledge about such motivational factors dependent on observation? Is the realism of assumptions in economic models relevant for the models' epistemological value? Can two empirically-equivalent theories, but different in their assumptions, hold different relevant knowledge regarding people's underlying motivations for action? Are some important economic models, like revealed preference, value-laden? And, if so, what does this imply about those models and about the inferences that we can make from observational data if we hold these models as scientific paradigms? Can we test assumptions of a particular model in isolation? And, relatedly, can any experimental data allow us to make inferences about single assumptions of a specific model? These, among others, are crucial questions, and their answers ought to shape the direction of our discipline. In a long-term project, my aim is to investigate these, among other, questions in detail; and argue for a mixture of empiricism, realism, holism, and a value-free conception of the economics science.