By Benjamin Balak

The rhetoric of economics has lengthy claimed clinical objectivity, but the overdue, nice economist Joan Robinson argued that ‘the function of learning economics isn't really to procure a collection of ready-made solutions to financial questions, yet to benefit easy methods to steer clear of being deceived by means of economists.’ This exact booklet examines using rhetoric in economics, targeting the paintings of Deirdre McCloskey and different significant fiscal philosophers. McCloskey is likely one of the such a lot recognizable names in economics, but this is often the 1st actual try and study her paintings in booklet shape. She perspectives economics as a language that makes use of the entire rhetorical units of daily dialog, and her arguable perspective on judging economics by way of aesthetic and literary criteria has been highly influential. using the perspectives of Derrida and Foucualt among others, Benjamin Balak analyzes McCloskey’s significant texts and seriously evaluates the linguistic, literary and philosophical methods they introduce. This lengthy late exam of the methodological and philosophical results of McCloskey’s paintings may be of curiosity to philosophers and economists alike.

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Extra resources for McCloskey’s Rhetoric: Discourse Ethics in Economics (Routledge INEM Advances in Economic Methodology)

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This critique seems deceptively straightforward and is part of McCloskey’s attack on epistemology. “The very idea of epistemology” (title of the first chapter of the refutation) is repugnant to her. This is not surprising because this is where she gingerly avoids directly addressing the problem of theory-choice. One need not even apply radical French criticism to see this. ” McCloskey could have noted this and used it to examine the epistemologically complex relation between logic (the dogmatic Plato) and conversation/persuasion (the elenctic Plato) which underlies and undermines both what August Comte and later Jacques Derrida called metaphysics.

Thickness as a philosophical term refers to the degree to which the domain of questions is restrained. McCloskey recognizes (again) the importance of thin readings in economics, but goes on to point out an inherent weakness in the Lakatosian (see above) view of progressive science progressing towards the Truth (with a capital T). She employs a classical rhetoric device called petitio principii (begging the question; literally: petition of the principals) in the following way: The principle of falsification begs the question falsification of what?

The reader’s delight with the deep understanding only possible with a familiar concept makes him more susceptible to persuasion—a point made by Adam Smith in the Theory of Moral Sentiment. This however does not violate her commitment to sprachetik since it facilitates understanding, and is not devious but illustrative of what speech-act theory designates as motivated speech-acts which are, as their name suggests, acts of speech which are uttered in order to perform a social action such as persuade.

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