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A Review of Kuhnian and Lakatosian “Explanations” in Economics

Drakopoulos, Stavros A. and Karayiannis, Anastassios (2005): A Review of Kuhnian and Lakatosian “Explanations” in Economics. Published in: History of Economic Ideas , Vol. XIII, No. 2 (2005): pp. 51-73.


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In the last few decades the influence on economics of the ideas of T. Kuhn and I. Lakatos was considerable. The increasing use of terms like “paradigms” and “scientific research programmes” in almost every field of economics, is indicative of the influence of these two philosophers. Furthermore, the introduction of the ideas of Kuhn and Lakatos in economics gave the stimulus for work on the nature of growth of economic knowledge. The paper starts by presenting the main influence of T. Kuhn on theories concerned with the evolution of economic theory. It continues with a review of the main criticisms regarding the appropriateness and applicability of Kuhnian ideas for economics. The same approach is followed in the case of I. Lakatos. After a classification and discussion of the main findings, the paper attempts to offer an interpretation of the general impact of these two philosophers science on ideas relating to the development of economic theories.

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