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MET528 (spring 2021)

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.


The initial plan was to hold the lectures at NHH. As of Monday January 25th, the national Covid-situation does not seem entirely stable, and I know there will be students in quarantine, and I’ve decided that the first week will be all-digital. If you haven’t heard from me with zoom-details and such by Sunday evening (Jan 31), send me an email!

Week 1:

  • Monday, Feb 1: 1015-1200, Zoom.
  • Tuesday, Feb 2: 1015-1200, Zoom.
  • Wednesday, Feb 3: 1415-1600, Zoom.
  • Thursday, Feb 4: 1015-1200, Zoom.
  • Friday, Feb 5: 1215-1400, Zoom.

Week 2:

I still hope that we can meet in person in March:

  • Monday, Mar 15: 1015-1200, Zoom.
  • Tuesday, Mar 16: 1015-1200, Zoom.
  • Wednesday, Mar 17: 1415-1600, Zoom.
  • Thursday, Mar 18: 1317-1500, Zoom. Note change of time!
  • Friday, Mar 19: 1215-1400, Zoom.

Requirements for course credits

  • Active participation in class in both parts of the course.
  • Because of the Covid circumstances, this year (like last), a term-paper will be the final exam.

The term paper

Each participant submits an individual term-paper for evaluation, on a topic they choose themselves but which is approved by the lecturer by March 1st. Students then have 14 weeks to work on the paper. 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.

Term-papers will be read under the presumption that the author is aware of the basic rules of academic riting (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 extra 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.

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.

Separate reading lists for the first and the second weeks will be announced on the Statsokonomen blog. 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.