Study Questions: Introduction to Economics and Philosophy of Science

(Note: I don't expect to spend much time discussing this reading in detail, but I wanted to offer you a study guide. We'll be referring to crucial distinctions and summary points in this reading later in the semester.)

Philosophy of science:

  1. What is the difference between realism and instrumentalism? What are the main arguments for each?
  2. What is the deductive-nomological (D-N) model of explanation? Why is it appealing? What are the main objections?
  3. What is a scientific law, a scientific model, and a scientific theory? How are these related?
  4. How can we judge whether theories are true or false? Can theories be proven true? Can theories be proven false?
  5. What are paradigms and research programmes? How should they be assessed? How are they different from theories?
  6. In what ways are the social sciences different from the natural sciences? Can these differences be overcome?


  1. What was Adam Smith's crucial step that made possible a "science" of economics?
  2. What are the main differences between classical and neo-classical economics?
  3. What's different about Marxian economics, institutional economics, and behavioral economics?