The Effortless Economy of Science?

The Effortless Economy of Science?

Paperback Science and Cultural Theory

By (author) Philip Mirowski

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  • Publisher: Duke University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 472 pages
  • Dimensions: 147mm x 231mm x 25mm | 680g
  • Publication date: 25 July 2004
  • Publication City/Country: North Carolina
  • ISBN 10: 0822333228
  • ISBN 13: 9780822333227
  • Sales rank: 521,380

Product description

A leading scholar of the history and philosophy of economic thought, Philip Mirowski argues that there has been a top-to-bottom transformation in how scientific research is organized and funded in Western countries over the past two decades and that these changes necessitate a reexamination of the ways that science and economics interact. Mirowski insists on the need to bring together the insights of economics, science studies, and the philosophy of science in order to understand how and why particular research programs get stabilized through interdisciplinary appropriation, controlled attributions of error, and funding restrictions. Mirowski contends that neoclassical economics have persistently presumed and advanced an "effortless economy of science," a misleading model of a self-sufficient and conceptually self-referential social structure that transcends market operations in pursuit of absolute truth. In the stunning essays collected here, he presents a radical critique of the ways that neoclassical economics are used to support, explain, and legitimate the current social practices that lead to the funding and selection of "successful" science projects. He questions a host of theories, including the portraits of science put forth by Karl Popper, Michael Polanyi, and Thomas Kuhn. Among the many topics he examines are the social stabilization of quantitative measurement, the repressed history of econometrics, and the social construction of the laws of supply and demand and their putative opposite, the gift economy. In The Effortless Economy of Science? Mirowski moves beyond grand abstractions about science, truth, and democracy in order to begin to talk about the way science is lived and practiced today.

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Author information

Philip Mirowski is Carl Koch Professor of Economics at the University of Notre Dame. Among his books are "Machine Dreams: Economics Becomes a Cyborg Science";" More Heat Than Light: Economics as Social Physics, Physics as Nature's Economics"; and "Science Bought and Sold: Essays in the Economics of Science" (coedited with Esther-Mirjam Sent).

Review quote

"“The Effortless Economy of Science" is an outstanding contribution to the philosophy of science, history of economics, and science studies. Philip Mirowski shows why work in each of these fields can be better understood by looking through the lens of other fields.”—Bradley W. Bateman, Gertrude B. Austin Professor of Economics, Grinnell College

Back cover copy

""The Effortless Economy of Science" is an outstanding contribution to the philosophy of science, history of economics, and science studies. Philip Mirowski shows why work in each of these fields can be better understood by looking through the lens of other fields."--Bradley W. Bateman, Gertrude B. Austin Professor of Economics, Grinnell College

Table of contents

Introduction - Cracks, hidden passageways and false bottoms: The economics of science and social studies of economics; Confessions of an aging enfant terrible; On playing the economics card in the philosophy of science: Why it didn't work for Michael Polanyi; Economics, science and knowledge: Polanyi vs. Hayek; What's Kuhn got to do with it?; The economic consequences of Philip Kitcher; Re-engineering scientific credit in the era of the globalized information economy; Looking for those natural numbers: Dimensionless constants and the idea of natural measurement; A visible hand in the marketplace of ideas: Precision measurement as arbitrage; What econometrics can and cannot tell us about historical actors; Why econometricians don't replicate (although they do reproduce); From Mandelbrot to chaos in economic theory; Mandelbrot's economy after a quarter century; Introduction and justification for The collected works of William Thomas Thornton; Smooth operator: How Marshall's demand and supply curves made neoclassicism safe for public consumption but unfit for science; Problems in the paternity of econometrics: Henry Ludwell Moore; Refusing the gift