7  Realism, commonsensibles, and economics

The case of contemporary revealed preference theory1

D. Wade Hands

Because economics is concerned with familiar phenomena of everyday life, … economists have for the most part to content themselves with terms that are already in current use in ordinary discourse. There is some gain to this. Words borrowed from common language are, as Whewell points out, ‘understood after a very short explanation, and retained in the memory without effort.’ But, at the same the time, the problem of definition is made more difficult. For if we use the terms of common language, we must also endeavour to keep tolerably near to the sense in which they are customarily employed.

(John Neville Keynes 1890: 160)

1 Introduction ...

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