Unrealistic assumptions and unnecessary confusions : rereading and rewriting F53 as a realist statement

In The methodology of positive economics : Reflections on the Milton Friedman legacy. Cambridge University Press (2009)
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Abstract

It is argued that rather than a well defined F-Twist, Milton Friedman’s “Methodology of positive economics” offers an F-Mix: a pool of ambiguous and inconsistent ingredients that can be used for putting together a number of different methodological positions. This concerns issues such as the very concept of being unrealistic, the goal of predictive tests, the as-if formulation of theories, explanatory unification, social construction, and more. Both friends and foes of Friedman’s essay have ignored its open-ended unclarities. Their removal may help create new common ground for more focused debate in economics. Here I show how F53 can be reread/rewritten as a socially constructivist fallibilist, and realist statement – in contrast to the received instrumentalist interpretation.

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Uskali Mäki
University of Helsinki

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