The neoclassical synthesis has been defined as a bridge between Keynes-ian theory and Walrasian general equilibrium theory. The aim of this article is to show that founders of the neoclassical synthesis were not homogenous in their appraisal of the importance of Walrasian theory. To do so, we focus on Robert Solow’s contributions as a case study and examine the history of his lifelong criticism of what he called “axiomatics.” According to Solow, the axiomatic approach aims at founding economics on one general and complex model based on first principles or axioms. In contrast, Solow advocated the use of a diversity of simple and partial models, which have practical utility, are realistic in their crucial assumptions, consider institutions and the evolving nature of the economy, and rely on common sense microfoundations. We conclude by suggesting that Solow can be characterized as Cournotian.

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