This course is co-taught with Lorenzo Casini.

Economics is a fascinating and multifaceted science, philosophically significant to issues as diverse as the nature of rationality, scientific methodology, the fact-value distinction, etc. This course focuses on debates at the interface between economics and philosophy of science. It does so by reviewing a selection of writings by both economists and philosophers on the status of (neoclassical) economics, its foundations, goals, and methods. Topics of discussion will comprise the nature of rationality, the explanatory role of intentions, laws, and causes, the function of idealization and abstraction in theories and models, the interaction between descriptive and normative goals in economics, and the relation of economics to physics, psychology, and evolutionary biology.

This seminar will be in English.

Course Requirements

If this seminar is taken for credit, please let us know. For credit in philosophy you will have to fulfill requirements, depending on the module for which you are taking this course:

MA2, demi-module 2a:
- Evaluation: examen écrit de 4h portant sur le contenu du séminaire.
MA5, demi-module 5a:
- Evaluation: examen écrit de 4h portant sur le contenu du séminaire.

Contact one of us if you need credit in another programme.

Course Materials

We recommend the following readings:

  • Blaug, M. (1992). The Methodology of Economics. Or How Economists Explain, 2nd Ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Hausman, D. M. (1992). The Inexact and Separate Science of Economics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Hausman, D. M. (2012). Preference, Value, Choice, and Welfare. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Hoover, K. (2001). The Methodology of Empirical Macroeconomics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Reiss, J. (2013). Philosophy of Economics. A Contemporary Introduction. New York: Routledge. [recommended textbook]

All reading materials will be made available on Moodle.

Course materials such as lecture notes, handouts, etc may be made available as they will be used in class.

Schedule (Fall 2019)

This is the schedule for the seminar. It is subject to adjustment.

Date Readings Presenter(s)
19.09. Introduction Lorenzo Casini, Christian Wüthrich
26.09. Robbins (1932) Marko Vučetić
03.10. Sen (1973) Saakshi Dulani
10.10. Reiss (2013) Leonardo Monti
17.10. Friedman (1953) Alberto Corti
24.10. Vanberg (2012) Saakshi Dulani
31.10. Herfeld (2018) Marko Vučetić
07.11. No seminar (semaine de lecture)
14.11. Hausman (1990) Alberto Corti
21.11. Jhun (2018) Leonardo Monti
28.11. Reiss (2012) Marko Vučetić
05.12. Kirman (1992) Saakshi Dulani
12.12. Rosenberg (1994) Alberto Corti
19.12. Hoover (2008) Leonardo Monti