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The Philosophy-Economics Network

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Doing economics always requires making philosophical choices. Although this aspect is as old as economics itself, it has been particularly highlighted in the recent debates on the status of economics and the scope of its subject. On this line, along with the growing interest in topics at the intersection of economics and philosophy, there is a demand for a platform in which these two disciplines can more actively and effectively interact. The Philosophy-Economics Network aims to fill this gap. The key idea is to contribute to the establishment of an active network among scholars working in these fields. The main objective of the Philosophy-Economics Network is to promote and facilitate interactions between philosophy and economics on contemporary issues, and to circulate relevant information. We would like to invite World Economics Association members to join the network and to foster with us an interdisciplinary exchange.

This vision and mission can be called, in line with Joan Robinson, “economic philosophy.” Although there have always been links and interactions between economics and philosophy, there exists a growing interest to constitute economic philosophy as an emerging field of research. Indeed, economics always involves making choices that are not only methodological, but also epistemological and ontological. Very often these aspects are not directly questioned by economists. Economic philosophy focuses specifically on these topics, since discussing them is a way to both criticize and to deepen economic theory and its implications. Thus, the specificity of economic philosophy is that it is not so much a discourse on, as a discourse within economics, it is an internal reflexivity of economics. In order to be able to really tackle all these specific questions, it is fruitful to blend the approaches of philosophy and economics (although certainly a broader need for a multidisciplinary communication and collaboration is not limited to these two disciplines).

In order to provide some framework for interaction, three major axes of interaction between philosophy and economics can be identified: (a) moral and political philosophy and normative economics, (b) philosophy of sciences and economic methodology, (c) history of philosophy and history of economic thought. However, independently of the chosen perspective (ethical, epistemological, or historical) it is the coexistence of these two disciplines that is, according to us, a necessary condition for interactions between them.

The Philosophy-Economics Network fosters its vision and mission by means of creating a platform for an exchange of information, organizing biannual conferences on Economic Philosophy, extending the community of scholars, and encouraging interaction. The goals of the network and its website are to:

  • gather and share information in the international community interested in economic philosophy,
  • raise and facilitate discussions on questions of common interest,
  • identify and promote the institutions and programs that foster the dialogue between economists and philosophers.

A short history of the Philosophy-Economics Network

The idea of creating the Philosophy-Economics Network was born during a round table debate about the “future of economic philosophy” during the first Economic Philosophy International Conference in June 2012 in France, organized by Sciences Po Lille and the journal Cahiers d’Economie Politique/Papers in Political Economy.

Due to the efforts of Claude Gamel (Aix-Marseille University), Jean-Sébastien Gharbi (Aix-Marseille University), and Patrick Mardellat (Sciences Po Lille), in November 2012 the Network has been launched (at the beginning only in French language). In early January 2013 the Network website was launched (also in French language), and in the course of a month the English version of the website was published. Subsequently, the managerial team began an expansion of the network by inviting scholars from all over Europe, and hopefully bringing together the international community of scholars interested in economic philosophy from all over the world.

In just over two years, the Network has grown to over 400 members and continues to expand. The second conference of ‘Economic Philosophy (which was held from October 9th to 10th 2014 in Strasbourg at BETA, Strasbourg University) with over 100 participants confirmed a growing interest in philosophy-economics interactions, which we wish to expand even further by inviting the members of the World Economics Association to join with us in building the Network.

Membership: The Philosophy-Economics Network is not an association, and does not require an annual membership fee or annual renewal of the membership. You register only once, and you can also withdraw your membership at any time (you just have to send an email to secretariat@philo-eco.eu). The idea is that the list of our members reflects a genuine community of people interested in interactions between philosophy and economics. The names of the members of the network are published on the website.

The main vehicle for exchanging information and initiating debates is the Network’s website (philo-eco.eu). In order to provide the most recent news, we are currently looking for people who are interested in helping us to update and circulate information about events, publications, workshops and conferences, etc., in economic philosophy. Even small contributions will be a big and important help. If you are interested in participating, do not hesitate to contact us (secretariat@philo-eco.eu).

We hope to build this active community of scholars with you.

Jean-Sébastien Gharbi and Malgorzata Dereniowska (both at Greqam, Aix-Marseille University)

 From: p.6 of World Economics Association Newsletter 5(1), February 2015
http://www.worldeconomicsassociation.org/files/Issue5-1.pdf

Download WEA newsletter Volume 5, Issue No. 1, February 2015 ›

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