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