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Department of

 
 

2016-2017: II Semester: Philosophy of Economics  

Doctoral School in Philosophy and Human Sciences

Academic Year 2016-2017

 

COURSE DENOMINATION:

Philosophy of Economics

Lecturer: Carlo Martini (University of Helsinky)

carlo.martini@helsinki.fiwww.martinicarlo.net

 

Intensive  Seminar:  March  27 – March  30, 2017

 

About  the course

The course is highly interactive.  The lecturer will briefly introduce the topic, but most of the class will be focused around analysing, questioning, commenting, and debating about the readings.

 

Objectives:

This is a course that will improve your understanding of economics, its relation to and origination from philos- ophy, as well as put economics in perspective,  as a science among other sciences. Economists  are omnipresent in society, in the media, in government, in private corporations. It seems natural then that we should ask questions like what do they study, and how do they study it?  What do they learn, and what do they do, in practice? How do they arrive at their private theories, and how do they support their public statements? As scientists, economists are a peculiar kind: not quite natural scientists, but different, at least they claim, from most other social scientists  as well. Economics was born out of philosophy, but it has become a very different kind of discipline. Some claim it is more like a science, nowadays, but many still see strong connections between philosophical problems and economic ones. In this course we will explore many of the connections between philosophy and economics, many of the contemporary debates on economics and its method, and have a peak into the relation between economics and public policy.

 

Classes (daily):  

  • Monday, March 27, 13:00 – 16:00
  • Tuesday, March 28, 13:00 –16:00
  • Wednesday, March 29, 10:00 – 13:00
  • Thursday, March 30, 10:00 – 13:00.

 

Assessment:  TBD

 

Schedule of classes & readings

‹ A Reader containing all the following texts will be made available to the students. ‹

 

March  27, 2017 – Topic: Epistemology and economics

John Stuart Mill  (1836). “On the definition of political economy and on the method of philosophical investigation in that science.” London and Westminster Review (October).  Reprinted as Essay  V in Essays on some unsettled questions in political economy (1844). In Collected Works of John Stuart Mill. Ed. J.M. Robson. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 309-39.

Samuel Fleischacker (2009).   On Adam Smith’s “Wealth  of Nations”. A  Philosophical Companion. Princeton University Press. – Chapters 1 and 2.

Daniel M. Hausman (Winter  2013 Edition).   “Philosophy of Economics”. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL  “ https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2013/entries/economics/.

Julian Reiss (2013). Philosophy of Economics. A Contemporary Introduction.  Routledge. – Chapter 1

 

March  28, 2017 – Topic: Explaining  things with  economics

Alex Rosenberg (2011). Philosophy of Science: A Contemporary Introduction (Routledge Contemporary Introductions to Philosophy), London: Routledge. – Chapter 3: Scientific Explanation

Harold Kincaid and Don Ross (2009). “Introduction:  the new philosophy of economics.” In The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics. Edited by Harold Kincaid and Don Ross. Oxford University Press (2009): pp. 3–32.

Uskali M¨aki (2009). “Realistic realism about unrealistic models.” In The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics. Edited by Harold Kincaid and Don Ross. Oxford University Press (2009): pp. 68–98.

John B. Davis (2009). “Competing conceptions of the individual in recent economics.” In The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics. Edited by Harold Kincaid and Don Ross. Oxford University Press (2009): pp. 223–244.

 

March  29, 2017 – Topic: Designing things with  economics

Julian Reiss (2013). Philosophy of Economics. A Contemporary Introduction.  Routledge. – Chapter 15

Francesco Guala (2007).  “How to do things with  experimental economics.” In Do economists make markets? edited by Donald MacKenzie, Fabian Muniesa, and Lucia Siu.  Princeton University Press (2008): pp. 128-162.

Gary Bolton and Axel Ockenfels (2012).  “Behavioral economic engineering.”  Journal of Economic Psychology, 33(3):665–676.

 

March  30, 2017 – Topic: Ethics and trust  in economics and economists

Amartya K. Sen (1989). On Ethics and Economics, Wiley-Blackwell.

Tiago Mata and Steven Medema (2013). Introduction to “The Economist  as Public Intellectual.”  Special issue of History of Political Economy. Duke University Press.

Paolo Sapienza and Luca Zingales (2013).  “Economic Experts vs.  Average Americans.”  American Economic Review, 103:636–42.

Diego Gambetta (1988). “Can we trust trust?”  In: Trust:  Making and Breaking Cooperative Relations. Edited by Diego Gambetta. Blackwell Publishing: pp. 213–237.

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