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Book Review: The Social Epistemology of Experimental Economics

Book Review: The Social Epistemology of Experimental Economics sExperimental Economics is a discipline that has reached a critical point in its development. It has reached maturity in the sense that it is widely accepted within the economics discipline and its results inform large areas of economic analysis. However, it is still unclear what the results of given experiments actually mean and how far we can trust them. There has been a substantial amount of methodological analysis but much of it has been defensive, aimed at justifying experiments to economists. Furthermore, much of the extant methodological analysis is philosophically outdated since it relies on a theory-testing paradigm that has little relation to how economists (and other scientists) do experiments and how results are established.sFor these reasons Ana Cordeiro dos Santos’ book is a welcome newcomer to the debate. It uses current ideas in the philosophy of experiment and tries to extend them to account for the social aspects of experimental debate. While this approach has its problems, I believe that most of the fundamental points in the book are basically correct and any methodological debate should take account of its arguments.sAccording to Santos, experimental facts are generated through two general processes: a material process and a social process. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Economics and Philosophy Cambridge University Press

Book Review: The Social Epistemology of Experimental Economics

Economics and Philosophy , Volume 27 (1): 6 – Mar 1, 2011

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References (3)

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011
ISSN
1474-0028
eISSN
0266-2671
DOI
10.1017/S0266267110000490
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

sExperimental Economics is a discipline that has reached a critical point in its development. It has reached maturity in the sense that it is widely accepted within the economics discipline and its results inform large areas of economic analysis. However, it is still unclear what the results of given experiments actually mean and how far we can trust them. There has been a substantial amount of methodological analysis but much of it has been defensive, aimed at justifying experiments to economists. Furthermore, much of the extant methodological analysis is philosophically outdated since it relies on a theory-testing paradigm that has little relation to how economists (and other scientists) do experiments and how results are established.sFor these reasons Ana Cordeiro dos Santos’ book is a welcome newcomer to the debate. It uses current ideas in the philosophy of experiment and tries to extend them to account for the social aspects of experimental debate. While this approach has its problems, I believe that most of the fundamental points in the book are basically correct and any methodological debate should take account of its arguments.sAccording to Santos, experimental facts are generated through two general processes: a material process and a social process.

Journal

Economics and PhilosophyCambridge University Press

Published: Mar 1, 2011

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