Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 1, No 2 (2005)

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Is Economics a Natural Science?

Julie A. Nelson


Advocates of a more socially responsible discipline of economics often emphasize the purposive and unpredictable nature of human economic behavior, contrasting this to the presumably deterministic behavior of natural forces. This essay argues that such a distinction between “social” and “natural” sciences is in fact counterproductive, especially when issues of ecological sustainability are concerned. What is needed instead is a better notion of science—“science-with-wonder”—which grounds serious science in relational, non-Newtonian thinking.

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