AØKA08003U Philosophy of Science

Volume 2013/2014
BSc in Economics - compulsory
It will be a survey of the major methodological problems in contemporary economics. The course will attempt to bring an overview rather than depth with respect to the individual subjects. Almost all subjects may be further studied at the master program.

The intention is to provide the student with the background to reflect on the methods and results that are obtained in the economic science. In practice, almost all economists will come to work with other social scientists so the relation to neighboring branches of science will be discussed.

The course does not aim at providing practical methods to the students but almost all the subjects have great importance as background for the practical work as an economist.
Learning Outcome
  • The student should be able to discuss the definition of economics and the problem of demarcation.
  • The student should be able to explain the basic position of the logical positivists, Karl Popper, Lakatos, Friedman and Kuhn as well as the major objections.
  • The student should know the basic facts about the organization of science.
  • The student should know about the discussion about the rhetoric of economics and economics as an imperial science. The student should know about the concept of public choice and the distinction between market failure and political failure.
  • The student should know about the major problem of other lines of investigation such as field studies, case studies and participant observation as well as the contingent evaluation method. The student should be able to explain the methodology of the experimental method and give an explanation of rationality.
  • The student should be able do discuss the problem of replicability and Merton’s rules for science.
  • The student should be able to present the most important methodological problems of the econometric method.
  • The student should be able to give a discussion of the foundations of welfare theory and the theory of happiness.
  • The student should be able to discuss the important distinction in the theory of ethics between the ethics of duty and the consequentialist ethics.
  • Hausman, Daniel M., "The Philosophy of Economics: An Anthology", 3rd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
  • Boumans, Marcel and Davis, John B. "Economic Methodology - Understanding Economics as a Science"
  • Hausman, Daniel M. and McPherson, Michael S., "Taking Ethics Seriously: Economics and Contemporary Moral Philosophy", Journal of Economic Literature, Vol. 31, No. 2 (Jun., 1993), pp. 671-731
  • Kincaid, Harold, and Don Ross, eds. The Oxford handbook of philosophy of economics. Oxford Handbooks Online, 2009.
  • Rabin, Matthew. "Psychology and economics." Journal of Economic Literature 36.1 (1998): 11-46.
  • Bardsley, Nick et al. "Experimental economics: Rethinking the rules". Princeton University Press, 2010.
  • Kessler, Judd, and Lise Vesterlund. "The External Validity of Laboratory Experiments: Qualitative rather than Quantitative Effects 1.", MIMEO, 2011.
Successful completion of the first two years of study.
3 hours of lecturing per week for 14 weeks.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 2,5
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 161,5
  • Total
  • 206,0
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 3 hours under invigilation
A 3 hours written examination taking place at Peter Bangs Vej 36. A text in English will be given to the students.
Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
100 % external censorship
Exam period
Will be published before the start of the semester
Same as ordinary. But if only a few students have registered for the re-exam, the exam might change to an oral exams with a synopsis to be handed in. This means that the examination date also will change.
Criteria for exam assesment
The Student must in a satisfactory way demonstrate that he/she has mastered the learning outcome of the course.