Whatever disputes remain about the nature and content of the "canon" of economics, it is widely accepted that the boundary of economic science was narrowed throughout the nineteenth century (Winch 1972). This chapter offers a partial explanation for that narrowing in the methodological developments that occurred during the second half of the century. For reasons of practicality in the face of pronounced "multiplicity of cause," John Stuart Mill called, In his 1836 Essay On the Definition of Political Economy; and on the Method of Investigation Proper to It, and again in his 1843 Logic, for a separate and specialized science of political economy. The problem of multiple cause implied that the science should be substantially deductive in nature. Yet Mill accorded a role to induction, in the establishment of the basic causal framework, and to the process of verifying the accuracy of the theoretical analysis. Revision of the theory in the light of such verification established a key link between theory, and application.
Copyright © 2001 Routledge. This chapter first appeared in Reflections on the Classical Canon in Economics: Essays in Honor of Samuel Hollander.
Edited by: Evelyn L. Forget and Sandra J. Peart
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Peart, Sandra J. "Theory, Application and the Canon: The Case of Mill and Jevons." Reflections on the Classical Canon in Economics: Essays in Honor of Samuel Hollander. Ed. Evelyn L. Forget and Sandra J. Peart. London: Routledge, 2001. 356-77. Print.