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Complexity and mechanism: toward a unified framework for economic science : a thesis submitted for the degree of Master of Research (Philosophy)

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posted on 2022-03-28, 19:16 authored by Matthew Tuxford
This research study undertakes a rational reconstruction of the methodological writings of key figures within the emerging school of thought known as complexity economics. The reconstruction is conducted within the framework of mechanistic explanation that has dominated the recent literature in the philosophy of science. My central thesis is that complexity economics offers a mechanistic explanatory framework appropriate for the creation, development, and revision of economic theories. The study is comprised of three sections. The first section surveys the development of models of scientific explanation in the philosophy of science literature, culminating in an endorsement of a mechanistic account. The second section shows how the literature on economic methodology has historically responded to developments within the philosophy of science, and justifies the need for the analysis conducted in the following section. In the final section, I interpret the methodological writings of complexity economists within the mechanistic framework adopted, to establish the claims of the central thesis.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Chapter 1. Philosophy of science - scientific explanation & the structure of scientific theories -- Chapter 2. Methodology of economics - history & connections to philosophy of science -- Chapter 3. Complexity economics - central themes & objections to mainstream economic methodology -- Conclusion.


Bibliography: pages 119-131 Theoretical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy

Department, Centre or School

Department of Philosophy

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Albert Atkin


Copyright Matthew Tuxford 2015. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (131 pages)

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