CRITICISM OF KUHN ON PARADIGM SHIFT IN ECONOMICS
American philosopher Thomas Kuhn’s term “paradigm shift” took part in the economics literature when he published The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), and it became very influential concept for the science environment. With this work, it can be said that he himself made the paradigm shift in the world of the methodology of science, as he would say. Because he developed a completely different approach of ‘what causes the progresses in science’ by differing from the ‘normal science’. In his view, normal science is what generally scientific activities are useful for; data collection, calculating activities and trying to solve what is unknown. However, some observations that do not fit that paradigm, can not get into the scope of the dominant excepted science. The shift in the paradigm happens in this way; a problem occurs when some observations do not fit into the paradigm, a crisis emerges with too many anomalous observations, then the new theory is purposed and for Kuhn, it definitely contains the observations better than the old theory and this theory lasts only until its own crisis. However, he also states that new theory is not an improvement of the old theory, because in the essence of the shift is the latter do not fullf compromise with what the former said. For instance, the shift from Newtonian physics to Einstein’s physics, is a good example for the paradigm shift in science, Einstein’s work could not kept contained in the established framework. The convenience of the new discoveries and experimental discrepancies in new theory demonstrates that Einstein’s theory is closer to the truth than Newton’s, and it has always been in this direction.
Rather than being the next phase in a continual process, Einsteinian relativism represents a paradigm shift, involving a radical break from Newtonian and the introduction of a complete new set of standards, data and subquestions.
After stating the description of the assessing method for this paper, it is time to get into the main point, which are the revolutionarists in the history of economic science. ‘The Marginalist Approach’ is modern-day dominant economic approach; which is what is accepted in the global market environment and what is taught in the schools.
Around 1870s, the establishment of the Austrian School of Thought with the unprecedented work of William Stanley Jevons’s Theory of Political Economy (1871), Carl Menger’s Principles of Economics (1871), and Léon Walras’s Elements of Pure Economics (1874–1877).” Marginalist Revolution took place and ended the dominant classical view in economics, presumably not like it states in its name, but with a half century way to further its theories and implications. Simultaneous but independent works of Menger, Walras and Jevons paved the way for the marginalist revolution. These large changes that affects the whole paradigm in the progress of economy as a science, will be stated in the remaining part. Firstly, Marginalist method of analysis is what dominates the micro-economy and it generally prefers to make the explanations with the mathematical functions, in contrast to classical view. Utility would be measured in monetary terms and the utility should depend on how much that people willing to acquire that good. The essence of the revolution is actually in the idea of natural value, which marginalists accepts it as subjective, not derived from the ‘labor’ that embedded in it, but the need and desire to have it. As Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at Purdue University Lynne Kiesling would say, pearl does not have value because you dive for it, you dive because it is valuable. This also implies that basic idea of classical economists approach is completely altered in term of not accepting that the commodities have no ‘intrinsic value’. This also implies the abandonment of the item or commodity that is used for measuring the value, namely numéraire, which is the basic concept of the classical economy.
Classical economics basically depend upon the social analysis while neo-classicals brought the ‘scientific’ schema while analyzing the discipline. What marginalist structured their theory on were basically; the people having rational preferences, that they always act I n order to maximize their utility and they have the full information, but act indepentently.
This opposing view did dominate, because of the ‘scientific’ and ‘mathematic’ approach of marginalists, which is quite convenient for the conditions of modern-day science. The scientific approach that leading to progress was the basic idea of people prevailing in the twentieth century, and the marginalists that also abandoned the role of history had accepted and sustained. That is because people have relied on science with the success of technological progresses at these times and scientific social management had accepted in this process. The scientific approach of neoclassical economics became its strength.
The conceptualization of the agents of being the output and profit maximizers, led them to optimize the outcomes. These outcomes considered to be ‘the best’ and illustrate the equilibrium concept.
This can be considered as a success of the marginalist approach or the science itself. However, it seems that with the yield of modernity and scientific approach, marginalists have long time to prevail in the economic approach in our century. Thanks to all these differences in the way of explaining and deriving economic approaches, it is explicit for Kuhn to accept this change in the science of economics is basically a radical shift, not an improvement, even can be considered as mutiny against the ones who abandon the idea of individualism, mathematic and science, namely, modernity.
CRITICISM OF KUHN ON PARADIGM SHIFT IN ECONOMICS