An article has recently been published by the journal Philosophy of the Social Sciences:
Cyril Hédoin, “Models in Economics Are Not (Always) Nomological Machines: A Pragmatic Approach to Economists’ Modeling Practice” (POSS, vol. 44/4 (July 2014), pp. 424-459).
Abstract: This paper evaluates Nancy Cartwright’s critique of economic models. Cartwright argues that economics fails to build relevant “nomological machines” able to isolate capacities. In this paper, I contend that many economic models are not used as nomological machines. I give some evidence for this claim and build on an inferential and pragmatic approach to economic modeling. Modeling in economics responds to peculiar inferential norms where a “good” model is essentially a model that enhances our knowledge about possible worlds. As a consequence, models and experiments are very different knowledge-producing devices, at least in economics.
Keywords: Nancy Cartwright, economic models, nomological machines, inferential norms, experiments.