Universität Wien FIND

040264 SE Philosophy and Economics (MA) (2021S)

Types of Explanations in the History of Economic Theory

4.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 4 - Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 50 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

until furter notice all meetings will be online.

Thursday 04.03. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 11.03. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 18.03. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 25.03. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 15.04. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 22.04. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 29.04. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 06.05. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 20.05. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 27.05. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 10.06. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 17.06. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 24.06. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

Aims and Content
The aim of this course is to introduce students to the development of economic theories in the 19th century. Economic theories are regarded as specific combinations of empirical (synthetic) theories, explaining, for instance, the evaluative behaviour of humans, and non-empirical (non-synthetic) methodological positions regarding the structure of satisfactory theoretical explanations and the epistemological status of economic theories. Accordingly, and in contrast to prevailing histories of economic ideas, progress in economic theory is interpreted in terms of a process where methodological debates originate in open problems of economic theory and where suggested solutions of methodological problems trigger specific solutions of open problems in economic theory. Issues discussed are: open problems in 19th century economic theories; suggested solutions and different types of explanations; different epistemological positions defended in economic theory; different theories of scientific progress as general historical interpretations. Although historically oriented, this course is mainly analytical and discusses the development of economic ideas by analysing problem situations, problems, and proposed solutions as well as resulting controversies. Diligent students will learn to make sense of and evaluate the historical background as well as the performance of 19th century economic theories, and the main criticisms and later developments of those controversies.
Teaching consists of one unbroken 90-minute seminar; discussion of different text passages which students are invited to prepare on the basis of questions distributed in advance of every lecture.

Assessment and permitted materials

Basis of Evaluation
Efforts of students are evaluated on the basis of critical contributions to discussions (30%), talks (‘kick-off presentations’, 10%), seminar papers (25%), and written answers to weekly assignments (35%). Written answers to questions, talks and seminar papers are evaluated according to the clarity, precision, logical structure and completeness regarding the problems and arguments discussed.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Rewards and Requirements
In order to conclude this seminar successfully students have to provide one 20 min talk and hand in a short seminar paper of about 4000 words; they also have to hand in written answers to questions assigned on a weekly basis and contribute in a lively manner to discussions at all classes. Written answers, talks and seminar papers are evaluated according to the clarity, precision, logical structure and completeness regarding the problems and arguments discussed.

By registering for this course/seminar, you tacitly agree to having all your electronic submissions checked by Turnitin.

Examination topics

Subjects of Examinations
Problems discussed in questions, talks and seminar papers

Reading list

to be announced and will be provided via Moodle.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Th 23.03.2023 00:14