Friedman’s methodological instrumentalism

Friedman’s methodological instrumentalism

 

There are various criticisms presented by Bruce Caldwell on Friedman’s methodological instrumentalism. One of them is the inconsistency in Friedman’s position. Friedman argued that assumptions are not a locus for testing theories. According to him, realism does not matter because theories are not true or false, but are instruments used to predict how things should be. The controversy in Friedman’s arguments occurs in the analysis of the relationship between inflation and unemployment. He argues that the study of the relationship between inflation and unemployment has changed in three stages. First, it began with the standard Philips curve to a vertical one and then the positive relationship between inflation and unemployment.  According to Friedman, the changes in the analysis were brought about the failure of the earlier hypothesis to offered descriptions which were consistent with the empirical evidence (Caldwell 371). According to this argument, it evident that predictive adequacy is essential in the choice of theories.

In the third stage of the analysis of the relationship between inflation and unemployment, Friedman emphasizes the importance of holistic attention in the choice of economic theory. It states that political institutions should be included in the economic analysis of theories. This is more of realism because it aims to ascertain whether a particular theory is consistent with what happens in real life. The inclusion of political analysis in methods is less of economics, and it is not simple. In this argument, it evident that Friedman supports the importance of analyzing an economic theory as a whole and not leaving behind any factor which may affect. There are various factors which influence the relationship between financial relationships. A good example is the case of the relationship between inflation and unemployment. Although it is an economic aspect, political institutions play an important role and should be included during analysis.

 

In the earlier arguments of Friedman, he stated that theories are not true or false, but they are used to predict the relationship between various aspects. He noted that realism is not essential in the analysis and choice of theories. However, this is central to his argument in the case of the changes in the understanding of the relationship between inflation and unemployment. He argued that the changes in the agreement were brought about by the fact that the first two descriptions were not consistent with the empirical evidence. They did not portray how things should be in reality. This stated why political institutions should be included in the analysis of the case of inflation and unemployment. Although this s less of economic aspects, it will help to determine the reality of how things should be. From the last argument of Friedman, it is evident that realism is essential in the analysis and choice of theories.

The claim shows this that for a theory to be useful in explaining a particular matter, it should have the feature of predictive adequacy. It should be able to accurately link the relationship between the two aspects in question, rather than predicting how things should do (Boland 514). In the case of predictive adequacy, realism is critical. The theory in question should be an inconsistency with the real-life situation. If it does not correspond with the empirical data, then it is regarded to be useless in understanding the matter in question. Thus, Friedman was not consistent in his arguments of the methodological instrumentalist. At the beginning of his cases, he stated that realism is not essential in the analysis of economic theories because they are only predictive (Mäki 16). However, in his last argument, he stated that predictive adequacy is essential in the choice of any theory because it shows its consistency with the empirical data. This argument implies that realism is important in analyzing the relationship between economic aspects. As a result, Friedman is not consistent with his arguments in the methodological instrumentalist.

To respond to the criticisms of the inconsistency in his application of considerations related to theory choice, Friedman can base his arguments on the relationship between logic, truth, and theory.  To predict a particular aspect, the arguments must be valid to support the idea. This implies that logic is fundamental when it comes to analysis and choice of theories. For a prediction to be valid enough, it should be assessed according to a strict principle of validity (Lawson 133). This implies that although Friedman argued that theories are predictive and realism is not essential in analyzing them, logic is critical. It is not possible to choose a theory which is not logical. This implies that although theories are predictive, people should put into consideration other factors which influence the ability of the theory to be applicable in real life situation (Bush 76).  If it is not consistent with the principles of validity, the theory should not be selected. The argument of a theory should be logical for it to be applicable in the analysis of various matters.

There is also a strong relationship between theory and truth. It is aimed to predict how things should be in real life situation. This implies that the arguments in a particular theory should be aimed at establishing the truth about a specific aspect. It should be able to reveal how things should be in reality. This implies that although theories are predictive in nature and realism is not essential, they should be based on truth. TO formulate the correct relationship between the two variables, it is important to have facts about them. As a result, it will be easy to predict how the two aspects relate. Thus, predictive adequacy is an essential feature of a good theory. This is not possible without basing the prediction on truth. Thus, Friedman can respond to the criticism about the inconsistency in his position regarding analysis and choice of theory by depending on the relationship between fact, logic, and philosophy. Without these two aspects, it is not possible for a theory to give a precise prediction of the relationship between various aspects.

In conclusion, Friedman’s article on methodological instrumentalism brought about a lot of controversy in the discipline. This raised a lot of criticism on his arguments. One of the main ones was lack of consistency in his arguments regarding the matter. Fred argued that theories are predictive and thus realism is not important. However, at the end of his articles, he stated that predictive adequacy is an important aspect a method should possess. This implied that the speculations of the theory should be an inconsistency with the empirical evidence. This was contrary to the argument that realism is not important in the analysis and selection of a theory (Rotwein 1554). According to Friedman, although methods are predictive; there are various features which contribute a good theory. This can be used by Friedman to respond to the criticism. Logic and truth are essential features of a theory, which determine its applicability in real life. Thus, although Friedman argued that realism is not essential in theories because they are predictive in nature, logic and truth should be put into consideration when selecting theories.

 

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