Unity, Plurality and Explanation. The case of geographical economics and its neighbours
Geographical economics (also known as the new economic geography) is a recent approach developed within economics. It aims to provide a unified framework for the study of spatial agglomeration: the spatial concentration of economic activity. This search for unity stands in sharp contrast with the present plurality of approaches which seek to explain the same phenomenon across a variety of disciplines such as urban and regional economics, economic geography, and strategic management. More than any of the existing approaches, geographical economics has been contested by proponents of alternative theories. This dissertation investigates the general issues of unity, plurality and explanation by analysing them in relation to the case of geographical economics and its neighbours. Insights from the philosophy of science are employed to reveal the heretofore-unanalyzed rivalries and complementarities and to assess their potential for contributing to a unified theor! y of spatial agglomeration. The thesis is comprised of four independent essays that address these issues from diverse perspectives. In addition, a fifth introductory essay maps the common philosophical premises and outlines the overarching philosophical framework. In particular, insights concerning the partial and approximate nature of theories and the contrastive approach to explanation are brought together so as to individuate grounds for a realism-based pluralism. The contribution of this dissertation is twofold. First, the elucidation of inter-theoretic relations among geographical economics and its neighbours can foster enhanced communication among proponents of alternative approaches, and thereby theoretical progress. Second, in line with the current trend in the philosophy of science, the analysis of detailed cases of actual scientific practice carried out here is used to improve the adequacy of the selected philosophical accounts.
|Keywords||contrastive approach to explanation, economic geography, explanatory unification, inter-theoretic relations, new economic geography, philosophy of economics, spatial agglomeration|
|Sponsor||Maki, Prof. Dr. I.U. (promotor)|
Marchionni, C.. (2005, November 11). Unity, Plurality and Explanation. The case of geographical economics and its neighbours. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/7044