Against the pragmatic justification for realism in economic methodology


  • Simon Deichsel University of Bremen, Germany



realism, anti-realism, Uskali Mäki, Tony Lawson, pragmatism


In recent times, realism in economic methodology has increasingly gained importance. Uskali Mäki and Tony Lawson are the best-known realists within the discipline and even though their approaches are fundamentally different, both provide (among others) pragmatic defences of realism by claiming anti-realism to be the reason for the low quality of (some) economic models. My paper will show that a pragmatic defence of realism is untenable and furthermore, I will show that for both Mäki's and Lawson's normative ideas there is no need for realism.

Author Biography

Simon Deichsel, University of Bremen, Germany

Simon Deichsel studied philosophy and economics in Bayreuth and Bologna since 2001. In 2006, he obtained the degree of a Master of Arts (with distinction) with a thesis about model-platonism in economics. His specialisation in philosophy of science and institutional economics set the stage for his PhD project in philosophy of economics at the University of Bremen where he got a position as research assistant of Prof. Dr. Dagmar Borchers in 2006. Simon was co-supervised by Prof. Dr. Andreas Pyka, and finished his PhD (with summa cum laude) in October 2009. He currently holds a post-doctoral position at the Institute of Philosophy in Bremen.




How to Cite

Deichsel, S. (2011). Against the pragmatic justification for realism in economic methodology. Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, 4(1), 23–41.