Teaching and learning ontology and epistemology. Onto-what? Bates & Jenkins explain what is needed to equip students with the ability to critically reflect on learned content and understand meta-discussions in their field.
Tony Lawson has become a major figure of intellectual controversy on the back of juxtaposing two relatively simple and seemingly innocuous ideas. He has argued firstly that success in science depends on finding and using methods, including modes of reasoning, appropriate to the nature of the phenomena being studied, and also that there are important differences between the nature of the objects of study of natural sciences and those of social science.
From the two premises that (1) economies are complex systems and (2) the accumulation of knowledge about reality is desirable, I derive the conclusion that pluralism with regard to economic research programs is a more viable position to hold than monism. To substantiate this claim an epistemological framework of how scholars study their objects of inquiry and relate their models to reality is discussed. Furthermore, it is argued that given the current institutions of our scientific system, economics self-organizes towards a state of scientific unity. Since such a state is epistemologically inferior to a state of plurality, critical intervention is desirable.
Institutional economics focuses on the role of social institutions in terms of laws or contracts, but also those of social norms and patterns of human behaviour that are connected to the social organisation of production, distribution and consumption in the economy.
The Philosophy of Economics Foundational Text provides a systematic and well-structured overview over the field of philosophy of economics.
Post-Keynesians focus on the analysis of capitalist economies, perceived as highly productive, but unstable and conflictive systems. Economic activity is determined by effective demand, which is typically insufficient to generate full employment and full utilisation of capacity.
In the history of the social sciences, few individuals have exerted as much influence as has Jeremy Bentham. His attempt to become “the Newton of morals” has left a marked impression upon the methodology and form of analysis that social sciences like economics and political science have chosen as modus operandi.
Behavioural economics deals with observing behaviour and economic decision making behaviour.
Evolutionary economics focuses on economic change. Hence processes of change such as growth, innovation, structural and technological change, as well as economic development in general are analysed. Evolutionary economics often gives emphasis to populations and (sub-)systems.
The core idea of ecological economics is that human economic activity is bound by absolute limits. Interactions between the economy, society and the environment are analysed, while always keeping in mind the goal of a transition towards sustainability.
Austrian economics focuses on the economic coordination of individuals in a market economy. Austrian economics emphasises individualism, subjectivism, laissez-faire politics, uncertainty and the role of the entrepreneur, amongst others.
Neoclassical economics focuses on the allocation of scarce resources. Economic analysis is mainly concerned with determining the efficient allocation of resources in order to increase welfare.
Marxian Political Economy focuses on the exploitation of labour by capital. The economy is not conceived as consisting of neutral transactions for exchange and cooperation, but instead as having developed historically out of asymmetric distributions of power, ideology and social conflicts.
Complexity economics and institutional economics are complementary approaches to studying the economy. They can pool their methods and foundational theories to explain the mechanisms that underlie economies.
Feminist economics focuses on the interdependencies of gender relations and the economy. Care work and the partly non-market mediated reproduction sphere are particularly emphasised by feminist economics.
Complexity economics focuses on interactions and interdependencies between individuals and structures in economic systems. Those are systems of organised complexity. High importance is given to the analysis of networks.