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MET528 (spring 2020)

The aim is that students should know and discuss the most common arguments made on the knowledge-theoretical grounding of scientific practice in economics and related fields such as finance and management science. The practice of science is also a social practice and we attempt to turn our social science perspective on this practice. The course also introduces the students to the most relevant topics in the ethics of social science research in our disciplines.


Week 1:

  • Monday, Jan 20: 1015-1200 in Karl Borch.
  • Tuesday, Jan 21: 1015-1200 in Karl Borch.
  • Wednesday, Jan 22: 1015-1200 in Karl Borch.
  • Thursday, Jan 23: 1415-1600 in Karl Borch.
  • Friday, Jan 24: 1015-1200 in Karl Borch

Week 2:

  • Monday, Mar 9: 1215-1400 in Karl Borch.
  • Tuesday, Mar 10: 1015-1200 in Karl Borch.
  • Wednesday, Mar 11: 1015-1200 in Karl Borch.
  • Thursday, Mar 12: 1415-1600 in Lab 1.
  • Friday, Mar 13: 1015-1200 in Karl Borch

Requirements for course credits

  • Active participation in class in both parts of the course.
  • A term-paper. If necessary, revise-and-resubmits will be used. Deadline: April 27th.
  • Acceptable performance on a 3-hour written exam: May 29th

The term paper

Term-papers will be read under the presumption that the author is aware of the basic rules of academic writing (see for instance Booth, Williams and Colomb (2003), The Craft of Research).

I also have some stylistic demands: Paper to be submitted as a pdf file in a 10-12 pt serif font (preferably Times or something similar), with a4 paper size, 1 inch margins, with first-line indents and no extra vertical space between paragraphs, left- and right justified, and with a line-spacing slightly larger than unity. I also advocate everyone to have a look at Butterick’s Practical Typography. There should be a 100-150 word abstract.

I believe 10-15 pages in total should be sufficient to get the point across for everyone, but there is no hard upper or lower limit to what I’ll accept.

Everyone should make a short presentation on a proposal for the term-paper in the last lecture before the course ends.


There are no practical text-books that cover everything we need to do. The closest we get is the tiny leaflet by Okasha, Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction, that covers general topics in the philosophy of science (but is not particularly strong on social science). There are general textbooks on the philosophy of social science available (such as Rosenberg’s Philosophy of Social Science, but these are perhaps not so generally accessible to econ and business students.

Some of the readings are marked with an asterisk. These are core readings. Those not marked by an asterisk are important supporting readings.

Lecture notes

The slides I use when teaching will be available after each of the two sets of lectures. These are not intended as stand-alone introductions to any of the topics, and are not written to be cited or referenced.