I've always had a hobbyist's interest in the philosophy of science, but am now reading things seriously while trying to design a Research Methodology course. And the question immediately comes up: if we are to have a philosophy of economics to understand and improve what economists are doing then there also must be also a philosophy of philosophy to understand what it is that we are doing when doing this philosophy. And of course there is.

But then there must also be a philosophy of philosophy of philosophy, and so on ad infinitum. To get things off the ground we have to stop going meta at some level and make a direct appeal to common sense. Thinking like an economist, that level must be one where the clarification provided by an additional meta level falls below the reliability or comprehensibility of that level as compared to everyday talk.

In a subject like Economics then, where there is a large degree of professional consensus and a well-established paradigm, I am beginning to suspect that the optimal level of meta equals 0. That we do not gain by talking about the philosophy of economics. What do you think?

I think my last point applies even if you are not a orthodox neoclassical economists since much of the heterodox economics I am familiar with shares with neoclassical economics the goal of understanding the economy in the style of the natural sciences and then building technology to change it. The difference between the orthodox and the heterodox seems to be in matters of economics and not in matters of philosophy.
Shared publiclyView activity