A prima facie case is made that neo‐classical thinking is meaningfully influenced by the philosophy of pragmatism. Three major aspects of this philosophy are considered based on the writings of leading pragmatists and instrumentalists such as James and Dewey. These aspects include the cosmology, the axiology and the methodology of pragmatism. The ways in which these three aspects manifest themselves in neoclassical thought are then examined and identified. Among other things it is concluded that a certain unresolved tension exists within the pragmatist′s view which is also carried over into economic thinking. This tension at least partly accounts for the existence of neo‐institutionalists who likewise claim a pragmatist influence in their work but who are critical of neoclassical thought. The article concludes by pointing out some problems in this philosophy.
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