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Geoff Hodgson on pluralism and historical specificity

Sheila Dow

Chapter 2 in Institutions and Evolution of Capitalism, 2019, pp 14-28 from Edward Elgar Publishing

Abstract: The chapter explores the links between Geoff Hodgson’s ontological commitments and his epistemology. On the one hand, Hodgson believes that the absence of uniformity in socio-economic systems, located in historical time and geographical space, implies that economic explanations must rest on a combination of general and specific theories. This claim underpins his critique of excessive generalisation characteristic of the mainstream, but also his evaluation of Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes. On the other hand, Hodgson denies that the complexity of the subject matter, and the attendant impossibility of complete knowledge, justify the postmodernist credo that ‘anything goes’. Instead, Hodgson argues that an open-system ontology implies an open system of knowledge that allows for a variety of approaches, and underlines the value of the pragmatist method of abduction, namely, the formulation of new explanatory hypotheses through the creative connection of alternative approaches.

Keywords: Economics and Finance (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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