Philippe Verreault-Julien

Thesis title
Explanation, Understanding, and Knowledge: an Inquiry into the Epistemological Foundations of Economic Modelling

Prof. Julian Reiss and prof. Jack Vromen

Project description
Scientific modelling raises various epistemological challenges. Economics is no exception. Like other sciences, economics heavily relies on models to achieve its various purposes. However, economics has been facing particularly harsh criticisms for its use of highly idealised and abstract, in other words unrealistic, models. Models appear to explain economic phenomena, yet they also seem to lack crucial features accounts of scientific explanation usually require. Recent debates in philosophy of economics attempt to elucidate how this science contributes to our knowledge of reality. How models make us epistemically better off and what is the nature of the epistemic benefits they allegedly provide is still not clearly understood. My research project aims at resolving some of the tensions between the unrealisticness of economic models and the epistemic contributions of modelling. It aims at better understanding how economic models afford understanding of the world we live in.