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Diagnosing McCloskey

Uskali Maki

Journal of Economic Literature, 1995, vol. 33, issue 3, 1300-1318

Abstract: The diagnosis focuses on McCloskey's concept of rhetoric (persuasion of one's audience in a morally purified conversation), his theory of truth (constrained coherence), and his conception of the social organization of economics (morally self-regulated marketplace of ideas). His theory of truth appears as an "elite theory" (beliefs of the elite of the profession as the constraint) and an "angel theory" (ethics of speech as the constraint). These notions cannot accommodate McCloskey's own assessments of current economics. It is suggested that elites and angels be dropped from the concepts of rhetoric and truth, and a distinction be made between truth and plausibility.

Date: 1995
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