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Novelty and the bounds of unknowledge in economics

Ulrich Witt

Journal of Economic Methodology, 2009, vol. 16, issue 4, 361-375

Abstract: Economic development and growth are driven by the emergence of new technologies, new products and services, new institutions, new policies, and so on. Important though it is, the emergence of novelty is not well understood. Epistemological and methodological problems make it a difficult research topic. They imply a 'bound of unknowledge' (Shackle) for economic theorizing wherever novelty occurs in economic life. To make progress, this paper takes stock of the problems. The methodological consequences for causal explanations and the modelling of economics dynamics are discussed, and some possibilities for positively theorizing about novelty are outlined.

Keywords: novelty; epistemic bounds; abduction; causation; dynamical systems; economic change; evolution (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
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Working Paper: Novelty and the Bounds of Unknowledge in Economics (2007)
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