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Economics as a Science, Economics as a Vocation: A Weberian Examination of Robert Heilbroner's Philosophy of Economics

Daniyal Khan ()
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Daniyal Khan: Graduate student at the Department of Economics, The New School for Social Research, New York, USA

Economic Thought, 2014, vol. 3, issue 1, 56

Abstract: In an attempt to re-envision economics, the paper analyses Robert Heilbroner's philosophy of economics through the lens of Max Weber's philosophy of science. Specifically, Heilbroner's position on vision, ideology and value-freedom is examined by contextualising it within a framework of Weberian science. Doing so leads to a better understanding of Heilbroner's seemingly contradictory statements about ideology as well as a re-interpretation of his position on the place of value-freedom (or a lack thereof) in economics. This inquiry also leads to a demonstration of (1) the relevance of Weber's work on methodology of science to contemporary issues in economics, and (2) the identification of a major shortcoming in Heilbroner's work. Overall, this leads to a clarification and reconstruction of Heilbroner's vision of economics as a science and as a vocation, which is seen to be a self-reflexive, reflective and dynamic process.

Date: 2014
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