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Samuelsonian Economics and the Twenty-First Century$
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Michael Szenberg, Lall Ramrattan, and Aron A. Gottesman

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199298839

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199298839.001.0001

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Paul Samuelson's Mach

Paul Samuelson's Mach

(p.330) 21 Paul Samuelson's Mach
Samuelsonian Economics and the Twenty-First Century

Rod Cross

Oxford University Press

This final chapter analyzes Samuelson's methodology through the work of the physicist, psychologist, and philosopher Ernst Mach, categorizing Mach's thoughts with a big ‘M’. Thoughts of Mach range from sensory observation to phenomenology, including other disciplines such as psychology to the extent that such disciplinary thoughts are in harmony with the stability of the concept. The chapter ventures that Samuelson's methodology arises from the consideration of many views of science. Faced with a blurred distinction between facts and theory, which highlighted by Orman Quine, and the argument that economics deals with the world of social phenomena, Samuelson maintains firm feet in reality, letting the facts tell their story. Samuelson also acknowledges that new thoughts such as Thomas Kuhn's paradigm regarding the notions of cumulative knowledge, and incommensurability contribute to the theory of science. He accepted that facts are numerous and therefore must be carefully sampled for their economy. Yet Samuelson maintains that we should be able to tell the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of things and phenomena of the economic world.

Keywords:   Big M, methodology, incommensurability, ontological economy, epistemological economy, Ernst Mach, Orman Quine, Thomas Kuhn

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