8  Mäki's realism and the scope of economics

Don Ross

1 Introduction

Uskali Mäki has long defended a version of realism about the elements of economic theory that is supposed to explain how economic models can advance our knowledge of empirical reality despite apparently describing fictitious worlds in which agents are – in different ways in different models – ideally behaviorally rational, and often in addition ideally informed and ideally competent. Mäki's basic idea is that economic models use idealization, along with other bracketing and framing maneuvers such as omission, abstraction and simplified averaging, to isolate specifically economic aspects of individual and collective behavior. In the actual world, these aspects of course do not ...

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