Year

1978

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Department of Economics

Abstract

This thesis examines Philip Andrews' attempt to replace the theories of imperfect competition with his own theory of competitive oligopoly. It is argued that a proposed alternative to an existing theory will not be accepted unless it can be interpreted to fit into the current methodology of the discipline's research programme. A new the(^ry that would involve the rejection of the whole programme and not just the replacement of a sub-theory within the programme cannot succeed without a change in the goals of the discipline. To challenge the hard core of a research programme as Andrews did when he rejected the notion of equilibrium could be regarded as an attack on the discipline's claim to being a science. To develop this argument the thesis looks first at some alternative views of the way in which a discipline such as economics develops historically. Secondly it looks at neoclassical economics in its philosophical and epistemological framework, and then at the progressive elimination from economic theory of its non-Cartesian elements. The theories of imperfect competition are examined in the light of Andrews' criticism and then there is a discussion of the reactions to Andrews' theory and to his critique. The reactions were varied and the interpretations of his ideas by different writers were contradictory. There appears to have been no agreement about what he was trying to do.

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