Friday, August 01, 2008

Has anyone...

ever written on the recurrent phrasing of "the pure theory of" in social science and social thought?

It's often used to indicate that a theory is being built up neoclassical economic premises in an ostensibly purely-deductive fashion; but the earliest prominent use of it, Kelsen's "pure theory of law," has no particular relationship to the purity of economics.

Since I would imagine that anyone writing a general account would be unable to resist the title "the pure theory of pure theories," but that phrase generates no hits on google, I'm going to guess that no one's done it. I hereby offer that title up gratis (though an acknowledgment would be nice!) to anyone who can do something clever with it.