The Epistemology of Theoretical Economics in Schumpeter

Vol. 22 No. 1 (2002)

Jan-Mar / 2002
Published January 1, 2002
PDF-Portuguese (Português (Brasil))
PDF-Portuguese (Português (Brasil))

How to Cite

Silva, Marcos Fernandes Gonçalves da. 2002. “The Epistemology of Theoretical Economics in Schumpeter”. Brazilian Journal of Political Economy 22 (1):113-35.

The Epistemology of Theoretical Economics in Schumpeter

Marcos Fernandes Gonçalves da Silva
Fundação Getúlio Vargas de São Paulo (EAESP/FGV-SP).
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 22 No. 1 (2002), Jan-Mar / 2002, Pages 113-135


The objective of this paper is to reconstruct the main elements of Schumpeter‘s instrumentalist epistemology, in the way as they are exposed in his first published book Das Wesen und der Hauptinhalt der theoretischen Nationalökonomie (1908), which is the main effort developed by the Austrian economist for the analysis of the foundations of the economic science. Firstly, I will reconstruct his instrumentalist epistemology and I will show the importance of the same. This reconstruction is important because the hard core of Schumpeter’s instrumentalist epistemology is the relatively unknown. Finally, I will indicate the direct filiation of the Schumpeter’s instrumentalist epistemology to the main ideas about the nature of mechanics and of the physics in general in the end of the XIX century. These ideas are mainly associated with Ernst Mach, Henri Poincaré and Pierre Duhem who faced the same challenge of Schumpeter in economics, which is, free the science (mechanics) from metaphysics (cosmology), creating a new theory vision.

JEL Classification: B30; B31; B40.

Keywords: History of economic thought Schumpeter economic methodology