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Is There a Future for the Externalist Approach to Studying the History of Economic Thought?


Aleksandr A. Maltsev


The paper examines the problems arising in the analysis of the development of the history of economic thought (HET) with the use of the externalist approach. The author considers the views of proponents of studying the development of economic doctrines through the externalist and internalist methods and reveals the reasons behind low popularity of the externalist approach to the analysis of the history of economic thought. Among the key ones is the mainstream economists’ identification of economic science with the exact sciences, which have their “eternal” laws resistant to external changes. Another obstacle to considering HET through the prism of externalist methodology is yet strong postmodernist sentiments prevailing among the specialists in the history of economic thought. The author proves that the growing interest in externalist interpretations of the HET development coincides with major economic crises. However, upon the completion of socioeconomic perturbations, the popularity of externalist views gradually disappears. From the author’s viewpoint, the future of the externalist approach to studying the history of economic thought depends on the development of the trend towards growing pluralization of social sciences, as well as the desire of modern researchers to evade monocausality.

Keywords: history of economic thought; methodology; social and economic crises; externalism.

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For citation: Maltsev Al. A. Est’ li budushchee u eksternalistskoy traktovki izucheniya istorii ekonomicheskoy mysli? [Is there a future for the externalist approach to studying the history of economic thought?]. Izvestiya Uralskogo gosudarstvennogo ekonomicheskogo universiteta – Journal of the Ural State University of Economics, 2017, no. 6 (74), pp. 64–76.