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Hilton Center Hosts Theory Seminar

September 6, 2018

The L. Charles Hilton Center, an institute within the college, hosted a day-long seminar, August 25, 2018, for graduate students.

“Social Science: Epistemological Foundations and Methodological Debates” focused on epistemology, methods, and philosophy of science in general. Roundtable discussions and readings covered a variety of more specific topics within that realm, such as the role of theory in social science and whether the primary purpose of theory is to explain or predict. Groups also discussed the role of hypothesis testing in social science, the notion of falsifiability, and other standards of scientific knowledge, such as preponderance of evidence.

“This broad look at theory is not something many social science graduate programs spend a lot of time on in their core curriculum,” noted Hilton Center Assistant Director Adam Millsap. “This seminar introduced several master’s students to these ideas, while also giving more advanced Ph.D. students an opportunity to expand their knowledge of these topics and discuss them with their peers from different universities.”

The seminar, which drew 35 attendees from around the country, eight of them from Florida State University, also provided a good opportunity to introduce programs and disciplines within the college, especially to master’s students considering doctoral programs.

The L. Charles Hilton Jr. Center for the Study of Economic Prosperity and Individual Opportunity, founded within the college in 2015, focuses on research designed to enhance the understanding of how legal, social, and political institutions influence market transactions and, thus, the level of income, the rate of economic growth, and economic opportunity within and across geographic regions. Faculty and graduate students conduct research in a broad range of areas, including law and economics, public economics, public choice, industrial organization, regulation, economic geography, new institutional economics, economic history, and economic development.

Randall Holcombe, the DeVoe Moore Professor within the FSU Department of Economics,
was among the faculty from across the country to conduct group sessions at the seminar.