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The Methodological Role of the History of Economic Thought

Sheila Dow

Chapter Chapter 2 in New Perspectives on Political Economy and Its History, 2020, pp 21-37 from Palgrave Macmillan

Abstract: Abstract The purpose of this chapter is to explore the methodological role of the history of thought in economic theorizing. The connection is drawn between Adam Smith’s use of the history of ideas for his own theorizing on the one hand and his espousal of the Newtonian experimental method on the other. The history of ideas formed an important part of the evidential base. On these grounds, the argument is then developed that study of the history of economic thought contributes to the modern development of theory within a pluralist, open-system approach. Further the significance of different approaches to history itself is highlighted both for understanding Smith and for considering modern debates about the history of thought. The chapter is thus offered as further support for the important role of the history of economic thought in economic teaching and practice.

Keywords: History of economic thought; Smith; Economic methodology; History (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-42925-6_2

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