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Publication details

Reiss, Julian (2012). The Explanation Paradox. Journal of Economic Methodology 19(1): 43-62.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

This paper examines mathematical models in economics and observes that three mutually inconsistent hypotheses concerning models and explanation are widely held: (1) economic models are false; (2) economic models are nevertheless explanatory; and (3) only true accounts explain. Commentators have typically resolved the paradox by rejecting either one of these hypotheses. I will argue that none of the proposed resolutions work and conclude that therefore the paradox is genuine and likely to stay.