Reconstructing Economic Theory
The Problem of Human Agency
Allen Oakley, former Associate Professor of Economics, The University of Newcastle, Australia
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This book applies a critical focus on the extent to which methodological practices in mainstream economic theory impede our understanding of substantive economic phenomena as the products of human action. Economists, in general, work with a concept and representation of the human agent that is palpably unrealistic. Most do so, not out of ignorance, but rather to maintain the pretence that economics is the only true science among the social sciences because it enforces the use of rigorous and formalist methods of argument.
Contents: Preface 1. Introduction 2. Alfred Schutz: Individuals as Human Agents 3. Schutz and Socially Situated Agents 4. Karl Popper’s Ontology of Situated Human Agency 5. George Shackle and the Temporal Conditioning of Human Agency 6. Shackle’s Theory of Choice and Action Under Uncertainty 7. Shackle and the Situational Conditioning of Choice and Action 8. Herbert Simon and the Limits of Agent Rationality 9. Human Agency, Situational Analysis and the Reconstruction of Economic Theory Bibliography Index