Addressing the Malaise in Neoclassical Economics: A Call for Partial Models

Ron Wallace


Economics is currently experiencing a climate of uncertainty regarding the soundness of its theoretical framework and even its status as a science. Much of the criticism is within the discipline, and emphasises the alleged failure of the neoclassical viewpoint. This article proposes the deployment of partial modelling, utilising Boolean networks (BNs), as an inductive discovery procedure for the development of economic theory. The method is presented in detail and then linked to the Semantic View of Theories (SVT), closely identified with Bas van Fraassen and Patrick Suppes, in which models are construed as mediators creatively negotiating between theory and reality. It is suggested that this approach may be appropriate for economics and, by implication, for any science in which there is no consensus theory, and a wide range of viewpoints compete for acceptance.

Published on 7th June, 2019, in Economic Thought Vol 8, No 1, 2019