The ideological dimension of the work of economists has been made the object of studies which generally have sought to isolate the properly scientific contributions from the ideological aspects, which have generally been associated with value judgements. Yet not only should ideology not be identified with the latter, but it is out of the question to separate science from ideology since it is in so far as a science of social phenomena is well-established and is by virtue of this fact highly credible that it is likely to lend itself to an ideological function. This phenomenon is illustrated here through a consideration of a few contributions among the most outstanding which the economic analysis has produced.
This paper surveys the debates that have taken place over the role of value judgments in economics, claiming that the analysis of different types of value judgment offers a way to explore the influence of ideology on economic theory. In this literature, the focus of attention has been on whether the methods of positive economics allow the economist’s political values to affect his or her conclusions. This paper turns instead to intellectual value judgments, the influence of which is more concealed. Some heterodox economists, notably Feminists, have addressed this issue but they have done so only to a limited extent. The paper explores the relationship of this literature to the transformation of the philosophy of science that followed Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions and concludes by arguing that the relationship between economists intellectual value judgments and ideology is a line of inquiry that has been insufficiently pursued.