Title

Reflexivity: Curse or Cure?

Document Type

Article

Language

eng

Format of Original

24 p.

Publication Date

9-2003

Publisher

Taylor & Francis (Routledge)

Source Publication

Journal of Economic Methodology

Source ISSN

1350-178X

Abstract

Reflexivity has been argued to be self‐defeating and potentially devastating for the sociology of scientific knowledge. We first survey various meanings associated with the concept of reflexivity and then provide an interpretation of Velázquez's Las Meñinas to generate a three‐part taxonomy of reflexivity, distinguishing between ‘immanent’, ‘epistemic’ and ‘transcendent’ reflexivity. This provides the basis for engaging with reflexivity as a problem in the economic methodology literature, focusing on recent contributions to the topic by Hands, Sent, Mäki and Mirowski. Employment of our taxonomy clarifies the similarities and differences between the various forms of reflexivity that can be identified or are addressed in these contributions. Our main argument is that a successful response to the malign aspects of reflexivity requires a simultaneous consideration of various levels of reflexivity and relies on social–historical perspectives.

Comments

Journal of Economic Methodology, Vol. 10, No. 3 (September 2003): 329-352. DOI.

John Davis was also affiliated with the University of Amsterdam at the time of publication.

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