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Call for Papers
12-13 OCTOBER 2017

Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the Philosophy of Social Sciences
University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

What to make of highly unrealistic models? This is one of the big questions in contemporary philosophy of science, especially in philosophy of economics and biology.

Two sets of issues are relevant to answering this question. The first has to do with the ways in which highly unrealistic models should be characterized and the numerous ways in which models can be unrealistic. The key concepts here include those of representation and target, truth and falsity, abstraction and isolation, idealization and simplification, etc. Recent literature on models exhibits conceptual and terminological diversity and disagreement in characterizing unrealistic models. Different authors use different names to refer to highly unrealistic models: ‘toy model’, ‘fictional model’, ‘minimal model’, ‘non-representative model’, ‘model without a target’, ‘substitute model’, etc. Moreover, they sometimes use the same name to refer to different types of models. Neither the precise meanings nor the relations between these notions are clear in the literature.

The second set of issues has to do with the functions and uses of such unrealistic models. What purposes can they serve, and what purposes are actually pursued when using them? The main body of literature points to representational quality as grounding explanatory capacity despite abstraction, isolation, simplification and idealization. Others dispute this idea. Moreover, highly unrealistic models can serve other possible functions, next to their explanatory uses. Debates concerning the appropriate uses of highly unrealistic models need some tidying up.

TINT will host a workshop in Helsinki on 12-13 October 2017 in order to sort out some of the ambiguities and confusions in the literature and to contribute to a better understanding of the interpretations and uses of highly abstract and idealizing models. We are particularly interested in papers that (i) clarify the meaning of commonly used terms such as toy model, minimal model, fictional model, substitute model, etc, and that (ii) clarify the arguments for and against such models having explanatory import or some other epistemic or non-epistemic function. Papers that focus on and compare highly unrealistic models in economics and biology are particularly welcome.

If you would like to join us please send an extended abstract (750 – 1000 words) before 15 August 2017 to N. Emrah Aydinonat ( We plan to publish a selection of papers from the symposium as a journal’s special issue. For this reason, authors accepted for the workshop are required to submit an extended summary of their argument (2000 – 2500 words) before the event. Extended summaries will be distributed to all participants in advance. The workshop will consist of short presentations followed by extensive discussion.

Location: University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Date: 12-13 October 2017
Deadline for abstract submission:  15 August 2017
Announcement of accepted abstracts: 1 September 2017
Deadline for the extended summary: 1 October 2017

Organizers: N. Emrah Aydinonat, Till Grüne-Yanoff and Uskali Mäki


CFP: Methodology of Economics Research Area @ EAEPE 2015 Conference in Genova

CFP: Methodology of Economics Research Area @ EAEPE 2015 Conference in Genova

The 27th Annual EAEPE Conference 2015 will take place in Genova on September 17, 18 and 19. The conference will consist of the contributions of the 22 EAEPE research areas as well as of a particular general theme selected for this year. The 2015 conference theme will focus on reforming the financial system in order to divert resources from speculative activities, cause of growing inequalities and instability, to productive investments able to foster smart, sustainable and inclusive societies. (For more information about the conference please visit the EAEPE website:

Methodology of Economics Research Area (Research Area A) invites paper proposals for the conference. The proposals should be in line with the themes of the Research Area (see below).

We welcome proposals on all topics in line with the agenda of the Research Area, but are particularly interested in receiving proposals on the following themes:

  • Methodological analysis of economics in relation to economic crises
  • Methodological analysis of the latest debates concerning macroeconomics
  • Interdisciplinarity and pluralism in economics

The abstract should clearly mention (i) the title of the paper, (ii) name of the author(s) and full address of the corresponding author and his/her email address, (iii) the aim and the main argument of the paper, and (iv) the keywords and relevant JEL codes. The abstract should be 750 words.

Abstracts should be submitted via the abstract submission system on the EAEPE web site. When submitting your paper please indicate that your paper is intended for the Methodology of Economics Research Area [Research Area A].

Session Proposals are welcome. Please inform the Methodology of Economics Research Area Coordinators Uskali Mäki (uskali.maki [at] and N. Emrah Aydinonat (aydinonat [at] if you would like to propose a session.

Important dates:

  • Abstract submission deadline: 1 May 2015
  • Notification of acceptance: 8 June 2015
  • Early Registration deadline: 15 July 2015
  • Late Registration deadline:* 31 July 2015
  • Full paper submission deadline: 4 September 2015

Please contact us if you have any questions:

  • Uskali Mäki (uskali.maki [at]
  • Emrah Aydinonat (aydinonat [at]

The description of Methodology of Economics Research Area is as follows:

[Methodology of Economics Research Area]

Economic methodology, broadly conceived, is the study of how economics functions, how it could function, and how it should function ­ and of the various presuppositions and conditions of all these. It examines various meta theoretical key concepts such as theory and model, assumption and idealization, causation and explanation, testing and progress, rhetoric and truth, social construction and pluralism; as well as various goals, styles and constraints of research, such as mathematical modeling and experimentation, grounded theory and case study, causal and functional explanation, forecasting and policy, ontological and institutional (academic and otherwise) constraints on economic inquiry. It also sets out to examine fundamental substantial concepts such as rationality, choice, routine, trust, institution, evolution, coordination, equilibrium, path dependence.

Three dimensions seem particularly relevant to these inquiries within EAEPE. The first is often put in terms of orthodoxy and heterodoxy. The second is in terms of realism and non-realism. Neither of these dimensions and the respective distinctions is unproblematic, and hence should be part of the domain of methodological inquiry itself. The distinctions also do not coincide as there are realist versions of “orthodoxy” and non-realist versions of “heterodoxy”, ­ which helps to underline the fact that none of the four categories on the two dimensions is uniform. There is a methodological and conceptual jungle there, and it is our task to develop maps that help us orient ourselves so as to do better economics without misrepresenting current practice.

A third dimension deals with what is and what is not economics. Are there, or should there be, any disciplinary boundaries? If so, where are they located? On what conditions, and how, are they to be crossed? Economics participates in interdisciplinary encounters in a variety of ways and directions, influencing other disciplines and being influenced by them. For example, while political science, sociology, and science studies have been partly reshaped by an increasing use of economic concepts and methods, economics itself is being transformed due to its encounters with cognitive and life sciences. Institutional and evolutionary economics lie at the crossroads of these trends. Since none of this is simple, uniform, and straightforward, careful analyses are needed to track the detailed structure of these processes. What drives and shapes them? Which parts of economics participate in these encounters and how? How are we to evaluate the outcomes? How does all this relate with the first two dimensions?

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ENPOSS Conference

ENPOSS Conference


Keynote Speakers:

  • Margaret Gilbert (University of California, Irvine)
  • Uskali Mäki (University of Helsinki)


The European Network for the Philosophy of the Social Sciences (ENPOSS) invites contributions to its 3rd Conference to be held in Madrid in September of 2014, and organised by UNED. Contributions from all areas within the philosophy of the social sciences are encouraged. Moreover, contributions from both philosophers and social scientists are welcome. Only one contribution per person will be considered.

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HET Summer School in Ankara

HET Summer School in Ankara

The Summer School on History of Economic Thought, Economic Philosophy and Economic History was established in 1998 with the following aims:

  • To provide a thematic and specialized formation to PhD students in these fields of study;
  • To guarantee the diffusion and scientific assessment of their work;
  • To provide new approaches and enhance knowledge in contemporary economic analysis;
  • To introduce PhD students to trans-disciplinary perspectives in the social sciences.

In line with this general approach, the Summer School is organized as follows:

  • Workshops where PhD students present their work as written contributions to the debate, discussing them with senior scholars;
  • Seminars presented by invited professors and researchers on the topic “Growth and Development: History, Theory and Policy”;
  • Tutorials aiming at helping PhD students with preparation of their work with a view to its further diffusion and publication.

About 30 PhD students and young scholars make up the usual attendance at the Summer School, joined by about 15 senior scholars. The working language is English.

A certificate of participation in the Summer School will be issued to the PhD students and young scholars who apply for it and have satisfactorily attended the seminars, workshops, and tutorials. This certificate will provide the PhD students with the ECTS, credits that will be recognized by their institutions.

from 1 September to 8 September 2013.

Deadline for application: 30 April 2013

More information here!

CFP: ESHET 16th Annual Conference in St Petersburg

CFP: ESHET 16th Annual Conference in St Petersburg

CFP-ESHET 16th Annual Conference in St Petersburg

The 16th Annual Conference of the European Society for the History of Economic Thought (ESHET) will be held at St. Petersburg State University and St. Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance (Russia), May 17-19, 2012. (Conference web site:

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CFP: European Network for the Philosophy of the Social Sciences Conference

CFP: European Network for the Philosophy of the Social Sciences Conference

Call for Papers: First European Network for the Philosophy of the Social Sciences Conference (University of Copenhagen, September 21-23, 2012)

The European Network for the Philosophy of the Social Sciences (ENPOSS) invites contributions to its inaugural conference. Contributions from all areas within the philosophy of the social sciences are encouraged. Moreover, contributions from both philosophers and social scientists are welcome.

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CFP: Economics and literature: beyond praise and disparagement

CFP: Economics and literature: beyond praise and disparagement

Call for Papers
Economics and literature: beyond praise and disparagement

Deadline for submission: November 1st , 2012
Planed publication of the issue: 2013
Editors: Estrella Trincado Aznar, Jérôme Lallement

Since the nascent of political economy in 17th century, and even before, literature has been both a place for broadcasting and challenging economic ideas through idealizing fables and pastiches. In turn, economists could borrow from literature some ways to present their own ideas or to criticize alternative doctrines. The purpose of this special issue is to reflect on the transformations of the frontiers between economics and literature: to investigate how literature can reflect economic ideas and arguments and to see how economics and economists have dealt with literary presentations of economic ideas.

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