The epistemological status of economic science -whether it is an exact science, analogous to the natural sciences, and what is the appropriate method to its object of study- dominated the methodological debates of the discipline in the 19th century and continues to be a lively debate in contemporary scholarship. The present article approaches this question based on the work of two figures in the history of political economy in Chile, J. G. Courcelle-Seneuil and G. Subercaseaux. The comparative analysis of the texts of both authors allows us to understand the way in which they conceive economic phenomena, human action, and the type of knowledge that these phenomena admit. Courcelle-Seneuil understands economic reality as determined by natural laws of universal validity that science should strive to discover and that would give the discipline great predictive capacity. Subercaseaux, meanwhile, conceives economic phenomena strongly linked to their cultural and institutional context and as the result of the action of free agents. This leads him to emphasize the inexact character of economic science and to be skeptical of the possibility of deducing laws and making accurate predictions. These differences in approach have consequences at the theoretical level and also at the political level, for example, in the debates regarding state intervention. A comparative study of the epistemological approaches of two thinkers that are best known for their positions on economic policy issues is novel and may contribute to the understanding of the contribution of these authors to the history of Chilean economic thought.
|Translated title of the contribution||¿is Economics an Exact Science? the Epistemological Status of Economics in Jean Gustave Courcelle-Seneuil and Guillermo Subercaseaux|
|Number of pages||27|
|Journal||Economia y Politica|
|State||Published - 2020|
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