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Call for papers for a Special Issue of the Cambridge Journal of Economics

Call for papers: Process and Order in the History of Ontological Thinking in Economics


Special Issue Editors: Richard Arena, Clive Lawson, Tony Lawson and Stephen Pratten

Context and Motivation
According to dominant modern understandings within the (non-social) natural sciences everything is in process. A major project is to elaborate the nature of the latter. According to the second law of thermodynamics there is a tendency everywhere to messiness or disorder or, equivalently, to increased entropy. Yet order continually reappears and is found often to be relatively stable. How this happens is a second major scientific project, one that occupies all the non-social sciences from physics through to biology.

Such matters of ontology are of course fundamental to any discipline affecting all aspects of any serious attempts to study the concrete features of the world in which we live. In consequence, an analysis of how these issues are theorised and/or conceptualised in any discipline will reveal a good deal about that discipline’s history.

These remarks apply to the social realm as much as any other of course. But although recent years have seen some explicit attempts to study the nature of social reality, including projects rooted within economics, little effort seems to have been given to uncovering, systematising and comparing the various conceptions of process and order that have grounded (whether implicitly or explicitly) the development of economics theorising. The objective of this special issue would be to remedy this absence.

The desired emphasis is on early understandings/preconceptions of the nature of social process and (reproduced) social order as forms of being, as opposed to discussions that happen loosely to use terms that connect to process and/or order (such as, say, those making vague references to something as being evolutionary). Of course, in much of economics there is no theory of process or reproduced order anyway. This is seemingly true of all formal modelling endeavour. But many economists did hold views concerning the subject-matter of interest here. Obvious examples are Smith, Marx, Veblen, Ayers, Marshall, Menger, Hayek, and Schumpeter amongst others. Whilst close examination of the contributions of such authors may reveal sustained and coherent accounts of process and order, it may also be possible to identify systematic tensions between acceptance of more or less sophisticated accounts of process ontology and methodological commitments preventing its sustained detailed exploration (as perhaps in Marshall and Schumpeter).

Submission of Papers
The deadline for the submission of papers is 31st October 2013.
Submissions should be made using the journal’s online submission system.

There is the opportunity, during the submission process, to indicate that your manuscript is a candidate for the Special Issue on ‘Process and Order in the History of Ontological Thinking in Economics’. Authors are also advised to include a note to this affect in a covering letter that can be uploaded during the submission process.

All papers submitted will be considered using the CJE’s normal peer review process. Please also see the Journal’s information for authors.