Document Type

Contribution to Book



Format of Original

23 cm.

Publication Date



Taylor & Francis (Routledge)

Source Publication

What is Neoclassical Economics? Debating the Origins, Meaning and Significance

Source ISSN



This paper discusses Lawson’s use of Veblen’s concept of ‘neoclassical economics’ and argument that the category of neoclassical economics should be jettisoned on the grounds that it obfuscates effective critique of mainstream economics. The paper links Lawson’s critique of closed systems and Veblen’s cumulative causation view by offering a reflexivity, feedback loop formulation of the latter aimed at overcoming the pre-Socratic dichotomy between Heraclitian and Parmenidean ontological thinking. The paper then reviews what this implies for three key social ontology doctrines: social reality as processual and highly transient; emergence and the appearance of novelty; the internal relatedness of social reality. Final remarks address the use of the ‘neoclassical economics’ concept.


Accepted version. "Lawson on Veblen on Social Ontology," in What is Neoclassical Economics? Debating the Origins, Meaning and Significance. Ed. Jamie Morgan. New York: Routledge, 2015. Publisher Link. © 2015 Taylor & Francis (Routledge). Used with permission.

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Economics Commons