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Philosophy of Economics

In the Philosophy of Economics working group we dare to ask the most fundamental questions in order to understand our roles as economists in a bigger picture. What is “the economy”? What is economics? What is the relationship between our models and reality? What should it be?

In our everyday practice as economists we are often so focused at the matters at hand that we forget to step back and ask the big questions: What is “the economy”? What is economics? What should it be? And why are we trying to answer the questions we are?

In the Philosophy of Economics working group we dare to ask the most fundamental questions in order to understand our roles of economists in a bigger picture. These questions are not economic questions, however. They are philosophical questions. In order to discuss the assumptions underlying economic methods, the assumptions on justice and on freedom that are implicit in economic reasoning, etc., we need to turn towards philosophy. Despite the loftiness of this endeavour, we try not to lose track of the everyday economic questions we started out with. Instead, using philosophical insights we try to answer these and other questions first, in order to understand how they affect the everyday economic questions.

The Philosophy of Economics Working group is truly international and includes members from all over Europe and North America including Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, UK and USA. We meet online every other week. Sometimes members of the group present their own work on a topic and some other times we invite guests, philosophers of economics who are at an advanced stage in their career to discuss their work with us.

The preliminary 2016 webinar programme is the following (please check basecamp, the YSI Facebook page, or the INET calendar for updated schedule and times):

Week 9: March 2nd (Wednesday)
Brian Epstein (Associate Professor, Philosophy department, Tufts, USA): “Economics and Social Ontology”.

Week 11: March 17 (Thursday)
Frederick Heussner, Andreas Dimmelmeier, and Janina Urban: “Making the incommensurable comparable: A comparative approach to Pluralist Economics Education”.

Week 13: March 31 (Thursday)
Gabriel Wollner (Assistant professor, Philosophy department, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany): “Morally bankrupt - International Financial Governance and the Ethics of Sovereign Default”.

Week 15: Slot available

Week 17: Slot available*

Week 19: Slot available*

Week 21: May 25 (Wednesday)
Jimena Hurtado Prieto (Associate Professor, Faculty of Economics, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia): “Mainstream, Orthodoxy, Heterodoxy and Critique in Economics”.

Week 23: Slot available

Week 25: Slot available

Summer break

*Don Ross (Dean and Professor of Economics, University of Waikato, New Zealand) will give a talk in either of these weeks.

If you are interested in joining the Working Group or want to know more, please join the Young Scholars Initiative or send an e-mail to the coordinator.

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Learn more about History of Economic Thought