Value-free economics’ road towar Value-free economics’ road towards epistemological hubris. The use and abuse of mathematics by economists

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Aleksander Ostapiuk

Abstract

The goal of the article is to substantiate that despite the criticism the paradigm in economics will not change because of the axiomatic assumptions of value-free economics. How these assumptions work is demonstrated on the example of Gary Becker’s economic approach which is analyzed from the perspective of scientific research programme (Lakatos). The author indicates hard core of economic approach (maximization of utility, instrumental rationality) and the protective belt which makes hard core immune from any criticism. This immunity leads economists to believe that they are objective scientists and, consequently, it results in epistemological hubris. Due to its tautological nature (and other problems), economic approach is considered to be a degenerative programme. This conclusion is extended on value-free economics. In spite of these problems, many economists still believe in positive economics and they dismiss normative approaches. It has a negative influence on people (well-being, choices over time). The conclusion of the article is that thanks to axiomatic assumptions economists do not have objective and ironclad methodology and they should accept normative values in their research.

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References

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