Agency and Causal Explanation in Economics [electronic resource] / edited by Peter Róna, László Zsolnai. - 1st ed. 2020. - Cham : Springer International Publishing : Imprint: Springer, 2020. - XV, 171 p. 2 illus. online resource. - Virtues and Economics, 5 2520-1794 ; . - Virtues and Economics, 5 .

Preface -- Introduction -- Part I Theory -- Nadine Elzein: Free Will and Empirical Arguments for Epiphenomenalism -- Stephen Pratten: Causality, Agency and Change -- Jason Blakely: How Economics Becomes Ideology: The Uses and Abuses of Rational Choice Theory -- William Child: Economics, Agency, and Causal Explanation -- Part II Praxis -- Richard Conrad and Peter Hunter: Why Aquinas Would Agree That Human Economic Behaviour Is Largely Predictable -- Paul Clough: Agency, Time and Morality: An Argument from Social and Economic Anthropology -- Scott Meikle: The Switch from Agency to Causation in Marx -- Margaret S. Archer: Social Morphogenesis: Critical Realism’s Explanatory Approach -- Jonathan Price: Grotius’s Theological anthropology and modern contract doctrine.

Open Access

This open access book provides an exploration of the consequences of the ontological differences between natural and social objects (sometimes described as objects of nature and objects of thought) in the workings of causal and agency relationships. One of its important and possibly original conclusions is that causal and agency relationships do not encompass all of the dependent relationships encountered in social life. The idea that social reality is contingent has been known (and largely undisputed) at least since Wittgenstein’s “On Certainty”, but social science, and most notably economics has continued to operate on the basis of causal and agency theories borrowed or adapted from the natural sciences. This volume contains essays that retain and justify the partial or qualified use of this approach and essays that totally reject any use of causal and agency theory built on determined facts (closed systems).The rejection is based on the possibly original claim that, whereas causation in the objects of the natural sciences reside in their properties, human action is a matter of intentionality. It engages with critical realist theory and re-examines the role of free will in theories of human action in general and economic theory in particular.


10.1007/978-3-030-26114-6 doi

Economic history.
Philosophy and social sciences.
History of Economic Thought/Methodology.
Social Anthropology.
Philosophy of the Social Sciences.
Sociological Theory.



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