1. Introduction and Motivation

The deeply and fundamentally flawed nature of modern economic theory arises from two problems. The root cause is a fundamental misconception about the nature of methodology. The secondary cause is major mistakes in the application of this wrong methodology. The second flaw can be fixed by replacing the axioms and the methods of analysis while working within the same wrong methodological framework. Heterodox economists have been content to work in this way. This does create useful alternatives, since even a fundamentally flawed methodological framework can lead to useful truths if applied skillfully. However, failure to understand and remedy the root cause leads to serious weaknesses in the alternatives offered, which is one of the reasons why heterodoxy has been unable to create a successful alternative paradigm.

In a series of posts, I would like to explain the fundamental methodological flaw, so as to clear the path to building a genuine alternative to modern economic theory. The first step is to understand why the entire project of “Social Science” is misconceived. The term Social Science embodies the idea that we can fruitfully apply scientific methodology to the study of human beings and society. This is a fundamental methodological mistake. I have made this point in several papers, but unfortunately, they are all quite complex, reflecting my own rather long and tortuous intellectual journey in arriving at this insight. Now I think I can provide a fairly simple and straightforward explanation, in a sequence of steps. The first step is to understand the nature of science and scientific methodology.

  1. What is Scientific Methodology?   read more