The Elgar Companion To Economics and Philosophy
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The Elgar Companion To Economics and Philosophy

Edited by John B. Davis, Alain Marciano and Jochen Runde

The Elgar Companion to Economics and Philosophy aims to demonstrate exactly how these two important areas have always been linked, and to illustrate the key areas of overlap. The contributors are well-known and distinguished authors from a variety of disciplines, who have been invited both to survey and to provide a personal assessment of current and prospective future states of their respective areas of philosophical interest.
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Chapter 6: Taking Evolution Seriously: What Difference Does it Make for Economics?

Jack J. Vromen


Jack J. Vromen Introduction The issue what relevance (if any) the theme of evolution has for economics can be tackled from several vantage points. One could start with a discussion of ‘evolution’, pin down its meaning (or possible meanings), for example, and then continue to flesh out its normative implications for doing economics. The focus would then be on the issue of what consequences some prior notion of evolution would (or should) have for the study of economics. Alternatively, one could start with looking at how economists treat the theme of evolution and how they see its relevance for economics. In this chapter I opt for the second approach. I mainly discuss economists who want to take (or who have taken) evolution seriously (whatever that implies) in practising their own discipline. Economists who want to take evolution seriously: who are they? What distinguishes economists who do so from economists who do not? Perhaps it can be argued that the majority of economists still simply ignore evolution (but see, for example, the Symposium devoted to Evolutionary Economics in The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2002). These economists seem to be perfect candidates for economists who do not take evolution seriously. It seems that they can be safely ignored for the purpose of this chapter. But we have to be careful here. We should not rule out the possibility from the outset that some of these economists do not spend a word on ‘evolution’ and related notions for good reasons. Perhaps they neglect...

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