Can economics be a physical science?
Department of Economics, New School for Social Research, 6 East 16th Street, New York, NY 10003, USA
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Received: 15 April 2016
Revised: 15 September 2016
Published online: 22 December 2016
Economics and other social sciences stem from the same methodological scientific revolution that gave birth to the natural sciences. The natural and social sciences share a commitment to the dialectical process of theory formation on the basis of empirical findings and theory revision to incorporate empirical anomalies. Claims that the subject matter of social and natural sciences differ qualitatively in terms of mathematical formalism, statistical modeling, or reductionism are unconvincing. The notion of a “value-free” character to natural sciences fails historical and critical tests. Natural and social sciences share an ideological component in their representation of the relation between the subject and the external natural and social world. Natural sciences arise from the struggles of human beings with nature in the process of social reproduction, while social sciences arise from the struggles of human beings with each other and with the class divisions social reproduction imposes.
© EDP Sciences, Springer-Verlag, 2016