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Contrast explanations in economics

Summary:
Contrast explanations in economics For all scholars seriously interested in questions on what makes up a good scientific explanation, Alan Garfinkel’s Forms of Explanation (Yale University Press 1990) is a must-read. A lot of recent work done within different realist schools in theory of science — e.g. Roy Bhaskar, Andrew Collier, Richard W Miller and Tony Lawson — issue not so little from questions and problems posed by Garfinkel. Especially his advocacy of contrast explanations and critique of methodological individualism and other forms of reductionism are still unsurpassed. Given this, it is almost scandalous that this modern classic is not reprinted. I was lucky to get a copy from an antiquarian, but of course, this is a book that should have been

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Contrast explanations in economics

Contrast explanations in economicsFor all scholars seriously interested in questions on what makes up a good scientific explanation, Alan Garfinkel’s Forms of Explanation (Yale University Press 1990) is a must-read. A lot of recent work done within different realist schools in theory of science — e.g. Roy Bhaskar, Andrew Collier, Richard W Miller and Tony Lawson — issue not so little from questions and problems posed by Garfinkel. Especially his advocacy of contrast explanations and critique of methodological individualism and other forms of reductionism are still unsurpassed.

Given this, it is almost scandalous that this modern classic is not reprinted. I was lucky to get a copy from an antiquarian, but of course, this is a book that should have been reprinted long ago!

For those who want to further explore the meaning and potential of contrast explanations, Jamie Morgan’s and Heikki Patomäki’s article in Cambridge Journal of Economics last year is highly recommended reading.

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Lars Pålsson Syll
Professor at Malmö University. Primary research interest - the philosophy, history and methodology of economics.

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