ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Methodological Individualism-Resurrecting Controversy

Methodological individualism a belief that in explaining social phenomena we should begin from the individual as a unit of analysis - was a matter of debate and controversy a long time ago. Contemporary economists seem to take the view that either the debate is trivial or that methodological individualism is obviously right. This complacency has been shaken and interest in this subject has recently been revived by the publication of some new books and papers. This essay examines the new debate, argues that mainstream economists, knowingly or unknowingly, do use concepts which are irreducibly social and defends a particular aspect of individualism. The paper ends by drawing attention to a paradoxical observation concerning normative judgments and methodological individualism.

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