Neoclassical economics as a utility function that represents a consumer's preference ordering over a choice set.
Joan Robinson criticized utility for being a circular concept:
"Utility is the quality in commodities that makes individuals want to buy them, and the fact that individuals want to buy commodities shows that they have utility"
This criticism is similar to that of the philosopher Hans Albert who argued that the ceteris paribus conditions on which the marginalist theory of demand rested rendered the theory itself an empty tautology and completely closed to experimental testing. In essence, demand and supply curve (theoretical line of quantity of a product which would have been offered or requested for given price) is purely ontological and could never been demonstrated empirically.
In my understanding, the neoclassical economics is based on utility. So if this concept is no testable, and circular, how neoclassical economics can explain anythings?
I'm not saying the system can not predict anythings, because if we record a lot of behaviors, we can certainly predict some behavior by comparing similar patterns (it's mainly the logic behind machine learning). But we should not call that a theory neither an explanation.
I end up with those interrogations:
As I'm exploring this question, and will add some content I stumble upon that I think add some context.