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Foundations of Economic Evolution

A Treatise on the Natural Philosophy of Economics

  • New Horizons in Institutional and Evolutionary Economics series

Carsten Herrmann-Pillath

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Chapter 1: Ontology

Carsten Herrmann-Pillath


Over the last three decades economics has been in the course of being naturalized. The emergent naturalism of economics is reflected in two trends. The first is increasing cross–disciplinary research on human behaviour, such as in psychology and the neurosciences. The second is the adoption of methodological approaches of the sciences, in particular the experiment and the laboratory; this is also changing the social fabric of economics, following similar phenomena in the sciences (Doing 2008). Modern economics is becoming a cooperative venture that requires investment into laboratory devices or in large–scale compilation of comparative data on natural experiments (see for example recent progress in ‘genoeconomics’, Beauchamp et al. 2011); it is aiming at the collective accumulation of empirical results designed for testing competing hypotheses, and it is no longer defined by a small number of fundamental axioms.

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