Thought experiments, counterfactuals and comparative analysis

Thought experiments, counterfactuals and comparative analysis This article discusses the problem of “thought experiments” in Austrian economics and takes as a starting point Lawrence Moss’ argument on the divide between the older Austrian economists—for whom thought experiments were crucial—and the new generation that, in Moss’ view, has “abandoned” such methods. The article is an attempt not only to bridge this alleged divide but also to contribute to the development of the Austrian methodology. It is argued that what may be perceived as “abandonment” bolsters rather than precludes the role of thought experiments in the Austrian paradigm. The article identifies an entire family of comparative and counterfactual analysis research strategies available to the Austrians, all enjoying a solid epistemological and methodological grounding. The “comparative-counterfactual analytics” pattern threads together the conjectural histories, spontaneous orders and empirical case studies of the contemporary Austrians, with the classic tradition of older works. Consequently, the recent evolution of Austrian scholarship should not be seen as an aberration or abandonment but as a deliberate, natural and commendable development. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Review of Austrian Economics Springer Journals

Thought experiments, counterfactuals and comparative analysis

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Subject
Economics; Public Finance; Political Science; History of Economic Thought/Methodology
ISSN
0889-3047
eISSN
1573-7128
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11138-009-0082-8
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article discusses the problem of “thought experiments” in Austrian economics and takes as a starting point Lawrence Moss’ argument on the divide between the older Austrian economists—for whom thought experiments were crucial—and the new generation that, in Moss’ view, has “abandoned” such methods. The article is an attempt not only to bridge this alleged divide but also to contribute to the development of the Austrian methodology. It is argued that what may be perceived as “abandonment” bolsters rather than precludes the role of thought experiments in the Austrian paradigm. The article identifies an entire family of comparative and counterfactual analysis research strategies available to the Austrians, all enjoying a solid epistemological and methodological grounding. The “comparative-counterfactual analytics” pattern threads together the conjectural histories, spontaneous orders and empirical case studies of the contemporary Austrians, with the classic tradition of older works. Consequently, the recent evolution of Austrian scholarship should not be seen as an aberration or abandonment but as a deliberate, natural and commendable development.

Journal

The Review of Austrian EconomicsSpringer Journals

Published: Feb 27, 2009

References

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