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Journal Article

The Whimsical Science

Richard A. Levins
Review of Agricultural Economics
Vol. 14, No. 1 (Jan., 1992), pp. 139-151
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1349614
Page Count: 13
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The Whimsical Science
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Abstract

Three interviews, fictitious in varying degrees, are used to explore some fundamental questions of economic methodology. The role of mathematics in economic reasoning, the question of truth in assumptions, and whether rigorous arguments will necessarily lead to important results are examined. The use of models in science is usually justified on grounds of prediction or explanation. The general theme of this paper is that many mathematical models in economics fail on both criteria.

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