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Methodological criticism vs. ideology and hypocrisy

  • Economics


Milton Friedman's famous methodology essay is one of the most cited in economics literature. There was a time when it was usually cited as a prime example of positivist methodology. But since the publication of my 1979 critique of the critics of his essay, almost everyone now recognizes his essay as a prime example of what I called instrumentalism. Most economists, who when questioned about their views of methodology, will agree with Friedman's instrumentalism but only if Friedman's name is not mentioned. But many of those same economists will claim to disagree with instrumentalism when it is explicitly identified as Friedman's methodology. Unfortunately, such disagreement leads too often to unfair criticism. The question considered is whether this unfair criticism is merely a matter of ideological hypocrisy or more likely a matter of ignorance of methodology.

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