The inexact and separate philosophy of Economics: an interview with Daniel Hausmann

Daniel M. Hausman (Chicago, 1947) is currently Herbert A. Simon professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He attended Harvard College, where in 1969 he received a BA in English history and literature. After completing an MA in teaching at New York University while teaching intermediate school, he spent two years studying philosophy at Gonville and Caius College at Cambridge University (UK) before earning his PhD in philosophy in 1978 at Columbia University. Professor Hausman has taught at the University of Maryland at College Park, Carnegie Mellon University, and since 1988 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Most of his research has focused on methodological, metaphysical, and ethical issues at the boundaries between economics and philosophy, and he has been prominent in the development of philosophy of economics as a separate discipline. In collaboration with Michael McPherson, he founded the journal Economics and Philosophy and edited it for its first ten years. He also edited The philosophy of economics: an anthology (3rd edition, 2008). His most important books are Capital, profits, and prices: an essay in the philosophy of economics (1981), The inexact and separate science of economics (1992), Causal asymmetries (1998), and Economic analysis, moral philosophy, and public policy (co-authored with Michael McPherson, 2006). His latest book, Preference, value, choice, and welfare will be published in 2011 by Cambridge University Press. He is currently working on a book on the measurement of health. In this interview, Professor Hausman offers some reflections on his approach to the philosophy of economics, and on various topics central to recent methodological discussions, such as the role of abstraction, idealizations, scientific representation, and causality in economics.

Interview originally published in “Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics”, V. 4 (Spring 2011), n. 1, pp. 67-82. Reprinted with permission.

This interview was conducted by Luis Mireles-Flores, PhD candidate at the Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics (EIPE), Erasmus University Rotterdam, and co-editor of EJPE.

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