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Book part
Publication date: 15 June 2012

Samuli Leppälä and Pierre Desrochers

Besides subjectivism (in terms of value and cost) and the market process approach (as opposed to mainstream economics’ equilibrium analysis), methodological individualism

Abstract

Besides subjectivism (in terms of value and cost) and the market process approach (as opposed to mainstream economics’ equilibrium analysis), methodological individualism is a foundational methodological principle of Austrian economics. While being (arguably) more consistently and consciously practiced within Austrian economics, methodological individualism is far from unique to this tradition and is a well-recognized principle of inquiry in the social sciences (Watkins, 1952a, 1952b). Needless to say though, methodological individualism remains controversial and discussions of its true meaning and adequateness periodically resurface in the philosophy of science literature (Hodgson, 2007; Udehn, 2002).

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The Spatial Market Process
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-006-2

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Book part
Publication date: 5 January 2005

Douglas Glen Whitman

Various authors allege that the theory of group selection is inconsistent with methodological individualism, and therefore analysts must reject at least one of these…

Abstract

Various authors allege that the theory of group selection is inconsistent with methodological individualism, and therefore analysts must reject at least one of these principles. The present article argues for their compatibility. The meaning of methodological individualism is clarified, and the new version of group selection (articulated by Wilson & Sober, 1994, 1998) is explained. The two principles are then incorporated into a single methodological approach. Group selection affects the assumptions made about the kind of individuals who populate social scientific models, while methodological individualism requires models’ conclusions to follow from the actions and interactions of those individuals.

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Evolutionary Psychology and Economic Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-138-5

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 1998

Gregory T. Papanikos

This paper examines Hayek’s version of methodological individualism in relation to individual economic actions and economic effectiveness (social actions). According to…

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Abstract

This paper examines Hayek’s version of methodological individualism in relation to individual economic actions and economic effectiveness (social actions). According to this approach, economic and social order is determined by the myriad atomistic actions that are the result of individual planning taking into consideration the idiosyncratic nature of knowledge. Economic policy is a form of social planning which is not only ineffective but also has cataclysmic long‐lasting effects, creating a disorder in the market system. Two arguments are made in this study. First, methodological individualism should be considered and be accepted as a serous attempt to explain atomistic (economic) behaviour as purposeful actions constrained by scarce resources and limited knowledge. Second, Hayek’s strong version of methodological individualism is very simplistic as it is applied to economic policy issues, contradicting his argument in support of a methodological dualism.

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International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 25 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Book part
Publication date: 3 August 2015

Jayme S. Lemke

Recognizing heterogeneity of legal/social status, historical experience, and the resulting variation in the constraints faced by different groups can be a valuable…

Abstract

Recognizing heterogeneity of legal/social status, historical experience, and the resulting variation in the constraints faced by different groups can be a valuable complement to forms of heterogeneity already recognized by Austrian economists. This is particularly true for empirical analyses of caste-based societies, women’s history, and the experiences of other currently or historically persecuted minority populations. When (1) political institutions and/or other emergent social structures establish rules that apply to some individuals but not others, (2) these non-general rules are constructed in such a way that individuals cannot easily move in and out of established groups, and (3) some of the groups created by this process hold authority over others, class structures are created that can be understood without violating methodological individualism and other key tenets of Austrian economics. Like other heterogeneities that have now become incorporated into mainstream economic thought, the development of an Austrian theory of class could advance both the Austrian tradition and economic science in general.

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New Thinking in Austrian Political Economy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-137-8

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2001

Tsz‐kit Cheng, Domenic Sculli and Fiona Shui‐fun Chan

Questions the universality of theories of management and organizational behaviour on the ground that they have not adequately addressed the factor of culture…

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3779

Abstract

Questions the universality of theories of management and organizational behaviour on the ground that they have not adequately addressed the factor of culture. Traditionally, these theories consider political, regulatory, social, economic, and technological forces on behaviour, without taking into account the cultural context within which such forces operate. Neglecting the culture factor may be traced to an ideological bias that there is regularity or invariance in human behaviour regardless of cultural variation. Another issue concerns the ideology of methodological individualism. The inadequacy of existing literature and research directions is reviewed first. In conclusion, it is suggested that the traditional research paradigm, which relies on the methodological individualism, employed in decades of management and psychological research should be balanced by a more holistic approach, such as methodological relationalism, which recognizes the individual’s embeddedness in the social network.

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Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-3946

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Book part
Publication date: 5 January 2005

Richard N. Langlois

My compliments to Glen Whitman on a carefully argued paper that makes an important point: methodological individualism is not what you think it is; and, contrary to what…

Abstract

My compliments to Glen Whitman on a carefully argued paper that makes an important point: methodological individualism is not what you think it is; and, contrary to what many have argued, methodological individualism is not in conflict with the notion of group selection in the theory of cultural evolution. Of course, part of the reason I like Whitman’s paper so much is that, as some of his footnotes hint, I have been saying many of the same things for a long time1 (Langlois, 1983, 1985, 1986).

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Evolutionary Psychology and Economic Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-138-5

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Book part
Publication date: 25 January 2021

Patrycja Kaszynska

This chapter introduces the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Cultural Value Project and the ensuing legacy work. It suggests that this work has resulted in the…

Abstract

This chapter introduces the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Cultural Value Project and the ensuing legacy work. It suggests that this work has resulted in the re-positioning of the field of enquiry into cultural value by shifting attention away from policy constructs and towards lived experiences; away from measuring the outcomes of cultural participation and towards understanding the process of engagement. The challenge still remaining is to develop an empirically grounded pragmatist account of cultural value as a form of practice – a situated interface of agents, actions and structures taking place in an institutionalised and materially circumscribed environment. Reconceiving cultural value in these terms will have profound methodological implications, not least the challenge of finding methodologies appropriate to its analysis within the realm of historically and geographically variable relations and structures. It is, however, a challenge worth taking. The proposed shift, it is suggested, will provide a way of addressing some long-standing ‘problems’ arising in relation to cultural value: the separation of conditions and consciousness; the overemphasis on the cognitive at the cost of the bodily; the separation between ‘the best and the brightest’ and the ‘everyday’ conceptions of culture. The proposed approach may also drive the refinement of flat(ter)-ontology methodologies which neither succumb to methodological individualism nor overemphasise methodological structuralism.

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2005

Jon‐Arild Johannessen and Johan Olaisen

To discuss systemic thinking in relation to the naturalistic and anti‐naturalistic position in the philosophy of social science. To develop the theme in two parts: I and II.

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Abstract

Purpose

To discuss systemic thinking in relation to the naturalistic and anti‐naturalistic position in the philosophy of social science. To develop the theme in two parts: I and II.

Design/methodology/approach

A cybernetic approach is taken and a discussion on what is the foundation for the philosophy of social science for systemic thinking is developed.

Findings

The findings for Part I are that the rationalistic view of knowledge is based on reflection and reason. The empirical viewpoint on knowledge based on observations. The realistic view of knowledge is based on the link between the rationalistic and the empirical point of view. The systemic viewpoint is based on the realistic view of knowledge.

Practical implications

Provided assistance to social scientists who study social systems from the systemic or cybernetic point of view. Gives researchers studying problems/phenomena in social systems a systemic viewpoint.

Originality/value

It positioned systemic thinking in relation to the philosophy of social science.

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Kybernetes, vol. 34 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Book part
Publication date: 6 December 2011

Don Ross

Purpose – To review the significance of Hayek's argument, in The Sensory Order, from a connectionist theory of mental architecture to descriptive and normative…

Abstract

Purpose – To review the significance of Hayek's argument, in The Sensory Order, from a connectionist theory of mental architecture to descriptive and normative individualism.

Methodology/approach – The chapter reconstructs Hayek's argument, then replaces Hayek's premises about mental architecture with premises derived from the recent neuroscience of reward and consumption, and then explains why the argument no longer goes through.

Findings – Hayek's abstract mental architecture was closer to adequacy than most subsequent competing alternatives produced by philosophers. His argument from this architecture to individualism is valid. However, we must now supplement the abstract architecture with complexities drawn from recent neuroscience. These show the argument to be unsound. However, if commitment to descriptive individualism is abandoned, then a new argument from psychological premises to normative individualism is available.

Social implications – There is a good argument from psychological premises to normative individualism; but normative individualists should not try to defend their position by resting it on the supposed truth of descriptive individualism.

Originality/value – All the main arguments of the chapter are new to the literature.

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Hayek in Mind: Hayek's Philosophical Psychology
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-399-6

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Article
Publication date: 14 October 2020

Manya Mainza Mooya

The paper addresses the puzzling phenomenon of the ubiquity of economic forecasting, of which property market forecasting is but one instance, on the one hand, and the…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper addresses the puzzling phenomenon of the ubiquity of economic forecasting, of which property market forecasting is but one instance, on the one hand, and the unreliability of such forecasts, on the other hand. The paper explains why property market forecasts fail, in a non-trivial sense, and why this problem is irredeemable.

Design/methodology/approach

This was a conceptual paper and was based on original thought and literature review.

Findings

This paper attributes the failure of property market forecasts to the inappropriate application of the methodology of the natural sciences to the social sciences by mainstream economics. Specifically, the problem is located in the positivist philosophy and the assumptions of methodological individualism and rational choice theory underlying neoclassical economic theory.

Originality/value

The paper makes an original contribution by clearly showing why and how the methodology of the natural sciences, especially physics, has been applied to economics and property market analysis, why this is inappropriate and why it leads to failure. The paper introduces a debate that has hitherto been mostly confined to philosophy and mainstream economics into the property or real estate discipline and in a manner that is accessible to a non-philosophy audience.

Details

Property Management, vol. 39 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-7472

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