This page contains a list of the best books on the philosophy of economics. Just to be clear, there is no single best book on the philosophy of economics. The best book for you will depend on your preferred learning style and the amount of time that you want to spend reading about the philosophy of economics. An 800-page scholarly overview is unlikely to be best for someone looking for a short beginner-friendly introduction, for example. This list aims to take this ambiguity into account by featuring books that will appeal to a variety of learning styles.
Secondly, this is not a list of personal recommendations. It was created by compiling recommendations from a variety of online sources including bibliographies, course syllabi, and community recommendations. You can find out more about this process here. Links to the sources used to create this list are at the end of the post. Following these links will help you quickly find a wider range of options if the listed books do not fit what you are looking for.
Here are the best books on the philosophy of economics in no particular order.
Philosophy of Economics – D. Ross
Don Ross provides a concise and distinct introduction to the philosophy of economics for students in need of a short but engaging study of the main issues in the subject today. Ross offers his own provocative interpretation of the value of economics in science and public policy giving a unique perspective from a world authority.
Philosophy of Economics: A Contemporary Introduction – Julian Reiss
Publisher description: Philosophy of Economics: A Contemporary Introduction is the first systematic textbook in the philosophy of economics. It introduces the epistemological, metaphysical and ethical problems that arise in economics, and presents detailed discussions of the solutions that have been offered.
Throughout, philosophical issues are illustrated by and analysed in the context of concrete cases drawn from contemporary economics, the history of economic ideas, and actual economic events. This demonstrates the relevance of philosophy of economics both for the science of economics and for the economy.
This text will provide an excellent introduction to the philosophy of economics for students and interested general readers alike.
The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics – Harold Kincaid & Don Ross
Publisher description: The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics is a cutting-edge reference work to philosophical issues in the practice of economics. It is motivated by the view that there is more to economics than general equilibrium theory, and that the philosophy of economics should reflect the diversity of activities and topics that currently occupy economists. Contributions in the Handbook are thus closely tied to ongoing theoretical and empirical concerns in economics.
Contributors include both philosophers of science and economists. Chapters fall into three general categories: received views in philosophy of economics, ongoing controversies in microeconomics, and issues in modeling, macroeconomics, and development. Specific topics include methodology, game theory, experimental economics, behavioral economics, neuroeconomics, computational economics, data mining, interpersonal comparisons of utility, measurement of welfare and well being, growth theory and development, and microfoundations of macroeconomics.
The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics is a groundbreaking reference like no other in its field. It is a central resource for those wishing to learn about the philosophy of economics, and for those who actively engage in the discipline, from advanced undergraduates to professional philosophers, economists, and historians.
The Philosophy of Economics: An Anthology – Daniel M. Hausman
Publisher description: This is a comprehensive anthology of works concerning the nature of economics as a science, including classic texts and essays exploring specific branches and schools of economics. Apart from the classics, most of the selections in the third edition are new, as are the introduction and bibliography. No other anthology spans the whole field and offers a comprehensive introduction to questions about economic methodology.
The following sources were used to build this list:
University Course Syllabi:
- Philosophy of Economics – PHIL 413 | London School of Economics
- Philosophy of Economics – Philosophy 371 | University of Waterloo
- Philosophy of Economics – Erasmus University
- The Philosophy and Methodology of Economics – Philosophy 345 | Duke University
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