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One Long Argument in Economics: Explaining Intellectual Inertia in terms of Evolutionary Ontology

Erkan Gürpinar and Altuğ Yalçıntaş ()

No 2_2015, STOREPapers from Associazione Italiana per la Storia dell'Economia Politica - StorEP

Abstract: In this article, we explain in terms of evolutionary ontology whether (and to what extent) economics has become an evolutionary science since Veblen published his seminal paper in 1898, “Why is Economics Not an Evolutionary Science?” We argue that researchers’ habitual and ceremonial behavior as well as ideologies and non-intellectual beliefs cause inertia in the research environment. Inertia caused by the research environment is so significant that economics does not “progress” towards a state advocated by Veblen, where economists revisit their thoughts and change their minds by following the (evolutionary) “drift.” In essence, we stress the evolutionary ontological reasons why economists do not abandon theories when the dominant paradigm in economics is disputed. The “drift” which Veblen thought would turn economics into an evolutionary science has now become an evolutionary process itself, in which economists are unable to displace non-evolutionary preconceptions in economics.

Keywords: Evolutionary ontology; Intellectual path dependence; Intellectual inertia; Epistemic costs; Habits of thought (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B15 B41 B52 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 14 pages
Date: 2015-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-evo, nep-hme, nep-hpe and nep-pke
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