Development and Underdevelopment in the History of Economic Thought

Joan Robinson on Economic Philosophy and Methodology

Katselidis Ioannis, Athens University of Economics and Business

The paper tries to reexamine and reevaluate Joan Robinson’s contribution to the philosophy of economics and economic methodology. Robinson strongly criticized, if not rejected, the foundations of the neoclassical paradigm, regarding it as a deductive system based on a priori premises. By contrast, she attributed more and more importance to find proper ways of vindicating (in intersubjective terms) the bearing of the various selected assumptions and confirming the sufficiency of explicans in relation to explicandum. Therefore, within a post-Keynesian tradition, Robinson seems to follow a critical realist approach with respect to her ontological framework and philosophical foundation. In this context, she adopted an interdisciplinary approach, seeking to relate economics to other scientific disciplines and to the whole corpus of human knowledge. Furthermore, Robinson, by investigating the epistemological foundations of economics, tried to show how economic thought reflected the social conditions, the moral values and the various ideological preconceptions.


Keywords: Joan Robinson, Economic Philosophy, Economic Methodology, Post-Keynesian, Economic Methods