At KMPCE our approach to the study of method, or the philosophy of science applied to economics is not to report on the methods followed by great and wise men – such as Samuelson and Friedman. That is not worth much. If the philosophy of economics is to be worth doing at all, it must be done in an attempt to gain new insights that will allow one to do better economics. In a similar vein, it is a pity that economic methodology seems to be becoming a separate sub-discipline. Reflection on whether one’s assertions make sense  – and that is what we understand by the philosophy of science – ought to be carried out by all economists. By making method a separate field of study, one is approaching the situation where one may ask an economist: “Does your paper really make sense?” and receive the reply: “Don’t ask me. Methodology is not my field”. You may or may not agree that that would be ridiculous.

Karl Mittermaier used to distinguish sharply between the subject matter of economics and the tools employed in economics, arguing that much had been accomplished in developing the tools, but little in understanding the subject matter. These very sophisticated tools of economics are now employed in different fields of investigation, and so we have imperialism of economics. In contrast, the agenda of the philosophy of economics is not to develop new markets, so to say, for economics, but to develop new ways to look at the subject matter; developing novel tools of economic thought, rather than applying the existing tools in novel ways.