Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to show that knowledge in general, and knowledge of markets in particular, is ultimately a product of the researcher's paradigmatic approach to a multifaceted phenomenon and therefore it is as much an ethical, moral, social, ideological, and political activity, as it is a technical one. Design/methodology/approach – Any adequate analysis of markets necessarily requires fundamental understanding of the worldviews underlying the views expressed with respect to the nature and role of markets. This paper starts with the premise that any worldview can be associated with one of the four basic paradigms: functionalist, interpretive, radical humanist, and radical structuralist. Findings – It shows that any view expressed with respect to markets is based on one of the four paradigms or worldviews and is equally scientific and informative. Research limitations/implications – The paper's discussion is limited to only four paradigms. Originality/value – The paper notes that there are opportunities for functionalist mainstream academic finance to benefit from contributions coming from the other three paradigms and obtain a balanced view of the subject of their study.
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