Uskali Mäki, born in Helsinki, in 1951. Ph.D. from the University of Helsinki. Professor of Philosophy of Science at Erasmus University, Rotterdam.
Fellow (1 September 2000 – 30 June 2001)
In the spirit of scientific realism, this long-term research project addresses the most important and longstanding philosophical – but at the same time, also practical – issues in and about the discipline of economics. That is: How, if at all, are theories and models involving utterly unrealistic assumptions connected to the real world and how can false assumptions promote the pursuit of truth? The key concepts required for a satisfactory answer are the same as that of assumption itself: model, realisticness truth, idealisation, fiction, likeness, explanation, progress, realism, instrumentalism, and social construction. During the fellowship year, I made some major advances in clarifying and analysing types and roles of models; the locus and grounds of truth ascription; the argument from explanatory success; the argument from progress; the argument from social construction; and the relevance of kinds of realism for understanding economics.