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How-possibly explanations in economics: anything goes?

Grüne-Yanoff, Till and Verreault-Julien, Philippe (2021) How-possibly explanations in economics: anything goes? Journal of Economic Methodology, 28 (1). 114 - 123. ISSN 1350-178X

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Identification Number: 10.1080/1350178X.2020.1868779


The recent literature on economic models has rejected the traditional requirement that their epistemic value necessary depended on them offering actual explanations of phenomena. Contributors to that literature have argued that many models do not aim at providing how-actually explanations, but instead how-possibly explanations. However, how to assess the epistemic value of HPEs remains an open question. We present a programmatic approach to answering it. We first introduce a conceptual framework that distinguishes how-actually explanations from how-possibly explanations and that further differentiates between epistemic and objective how-possibly explanations. Secondly, we show how that framework can be used for methodological appraisal as well as for understanding methodological controversies.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: CPNSS
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
JEL classification: B - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology > B4 - Economic Methodology > B40 - General
B - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology > B4 - Economic Methodology > B41 - Economic Methodology
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2021 15:15
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2022 07:51

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