Isolaatiot taloustieteellisen koulukuntakiistan taustalla: tutkielma Uskali Mäen tieteenfilosofisten käsitteiden soveltamisesta

Translated title of the contribution: Isolations underlying a debate between schools of economic thought: A study on applying Uskali Mäki's philosophical concepts

Research output: ThesisMaster's thesis


The main purpose of this thesis is to examine how the philosophical concepts developed by Uskali Mäki can be applied to the analysis of the debate that concerns a certain school of economic thought called modern money theory or neo-Chartalism. The secondary purpose of the thesis is to clarify the argumentative structure of this debate and the issues perpetuating it. In Mäki’s view, economic theories and models contain underlying restrictions which he calls isolations. Isolation is a conceptional move in which a researcher narrows down their attention to things that they consider relevant. This move can be reversed, in which case one talks about de- or re-isolation. Mäki has put forward the idea that debates between schools of economic thought often consist of arguments aiming at de- or re-isolation. In my thesis, I analyze the critique directed at modern money theory, the answers to this critique by the supporters of the theory, as well as their own presentations of the theory. I assess to which extent the concept of isolation with its different variations can be applied to describe this argumentation. In addition, I demonstrate that new aspects of the debate on modern money theory can be pointed out by applying other concepts that Mäki has developed in philosophy of science. Based on my analysis, I suggest that the debate surrounding modern money theory is only partly about rival isolations. In addition to both sides of the debate presenting arguments aiming at de- and re-isolation, there are other issues perpetuating the debate. These issues comprise failures in clear argumentation, conceptual unclarities, and differing conceptions of scientific explanation. I also show that the participants of the debate have differing ontological starting points. My thesis supports some of Mäki’s interpretations that concern the structure of debates between schools of economic thought, but also shows that his framework covers only a part of the debate in question.
Translated title of the contributionIsolations underlying a debate between schools of economic thought: A study on applying Uskali Mäki's philosophical concepts
Original languageFinnish
Awarding Institution
  • Jyväskylän yliopiston Humanistis-yhteiskuntatieteellinen tiedekunta
  • Heinämaa, Sara, Supervisor, External person
  • Pajunen, John, Supervisor, External person
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeG2 Master's thesis, polytechnic Master's thesis

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