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Accepting the unknowables of entrepreneurship and overcoming philosophical obstacles to scientific progress

Stratos Ramoglou and Eric W.K. Tsang

Journal of Business Venturing Insights, 2017, vol. 8, issue C, 71-77

Abstract: In his recent commentary, Per Davidsson questions the potential of the actualization perspective of entrepreneurship to move the field forward. The actualization approach stresses that opportunities do not exist as actualized and empirically undiscovered entities, but as the profit propensities that may actualize when properly exploited. This worldview emphatically acknowledges an impenetrable region of “unknowable”: we cannot know where and when opportunities exist or whether they can be actualized by any given agent. Davidsson is, therefore, justified to doubt that the propensity conceptualization can facilitate the production of predictive knowledge involving the causal interaction between empirically tractable entities with events of “action” and “success”. However, Davidsson is unjustifiably concerned that this limitation hinders the scientific progress of entrepreneurship. This concern only reflects philosophical preoccupations of an empiricist nature, which ought to be uprooted for the study of entrepreneurship to progress along genuinely scientific pathways.

Keywords: Entrepreneurial opportunities; Actualization perspective; Realism; Empiricism; Ontology; Epistemology; Philosophy of science (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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