Beyond Rhetoric and Realism in Economics: Towards a by Thomas Boylan, Paschal O'Gorman

By Thomas Boylan, Paschal O'Gorman

Boylan and O'Gorman inject a clean empiricist voice into the hot debates in financial methodology.... compliment the ebook for its cautious scholarship, its highbrow novelty and its familiarity with present methodological literature." D. Wade palms, college of Puget Sound, united states

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Extra resources for Beyond Rhetoric and Realism in Economics: Towards a Reformulation of Methodology (Economics As Social Theory)

Sample text

In this connection it is necessary to distinguish between ‘the conversational habits’ of economists on the one hand and their ‘arcane’ terms on the other (McCloskey 1985:xvii). The former are extensively shared by disciplines which have been rendered clear and comprehensible by literary criticism. At first sight this may not be at all obvious. For instance, as we already noted, economists use mathematical models and prima facie these have nothing to do with the devices of literary criticism. McCloskey, however, maintains that, on closer scrutiny, this prima facie difference must be rejected.

This success lies in the fact that economics is a historical, rather than a predictive science. ‘It is unsuccessful as social weather forecasting…it is successful as social history’ (McCloskey 1985:xix). ). We will now proceed to expand on this preliminary account. McCloskey is, without doubt, skilled in the art of rhetoric. Like many persuasive legal cases, he structures his approach in a pincer movement. First, the case of the opponent is subjected to critical scrutiny and, second, the positive evidence for his own thesis is organized and presented.

This new rhetorical understanding, moreover, will help the field to mature in numerous ways, not least by displaying for all to see the true success of economics itself. This success lies in the fact that economics is a historical, rather than a predictive science. ‘It is unsuccessful as social weather forecasting…it is successful as social history’ (McCloskey 1985:xix). ). We will now proceed to expand on this preliminary account. McCloskey is, without doubt, skilled in the art of rhetoric. Like many persuasive legal cases, he structures his approach in a pincer movement.

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