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The Methodology of Positive Economics
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Book description

Milton Friedman's 1953 essay 'The methodology of positive economics' remains the most cited, influential, and controversial piece of methodological writing in twentieth-century economics. Since its appearance, the essay has shaped the image of economics as a scientific discipline, both within and outside of the academy. At the same time, there has been an ongoing controversy over the proper interpretation and normative evaluation of the essay. Perceptions have been sharply divided, with some viewing economics as a scientific success thanks to its adherence to Friedman's principles, others taking it as a failure for the same reason. In this book, a team of world-renowned experts in the methodology of economics cast new light on Friedman's methodological arguments and practices from a variety of perspectives. It provides the 21st century reader with an invaluable assessment of the impact and contemporary significance of Friedman's seminal work.


‘Milton Friedman’s 'The Methodology of Positive Economics' was arguably the most important methodological statement in twentieth-century economics. The essay encapsulated what it meant to be truly scientific in an age and a profession that took ‘being truly scientific’ very seriously. In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of its publication, Uskali Mäki has assembled an impressive array of scholars to explore the essay from a wide variety of perspectives. He has done a superb job: the papers are uniformly substantive and informative. The volume is a fitting golden anniversary present to the profession.’

Bruce Caldwell - University of North Carolina, Greensboro

‘If economic methodologists had a bible, Friedman's 'The Methodology of Positive Economics' would be it. If economic methodologists had a Talmudic study of its bible, this book would be it. The book is insightful, thoughtful, and thought provoking. Who would have thought that after fifty years, there is still so much to say about Friedman's methodological essay? The book is necessary reading for anyone studying formal economic methodology.’

David Colander - Middlebury College, Vermont

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