More Examples of Arguing With Well Intentioned But Misguided Folk

–Still not a peep about: “Even though it is perfectly true and perfectly logical that humans are subjective beings there are some who cannot fathom a scientific subjective methodology.”– Bruce Koerber

[T]he question is not whether we can practice a subjective methodology. Nor is it honest to use psychologism as a criticism when the question is whether such a method is a logical possibility or is empirically demonstrable. (It is dishonest actually – and psychological criticism is immoral because it is dishonest.) Instead, the question is whether subjectivity yields results – empirically it doesn’t, empirically it hasn’t, and logically it can’t. This is because of a tragically simple reason: subjective testing is not axiomatic in that it is complete (the distinguishing property of an axiom). But it is instead, that economic laws, constitute “laws” (in the spectrum of intuition, hypothesis, theory and law) meaning that it they are general rules of limited precision, widely accepted, that we cannot find false.

We can certainly TEST economic statements. But we cannot deduce economic phenomenon, nor can we observe economic phenomenon, particularly emergent economic phenomenon, without empirical methods. We can test data all day long. We do.

The logical possibility does not exist. We cannot and do not imagine (deduce) economic phenomenon, because economic phenomenon are emergent and inter-temporally equilibrating without every reaching equilibrium. Man is also fraught with an increasing number of cognitive biases. In other words, those phenomenon are too complicated to observe and predict. This is why there are so many outstanding problems in economic theory – it’s terribly complicated.

So the unique property of economics is that we can test first principles (human subjectivity),rather than resort to purely correlative tests. In this sense we can know if economic theories can be true, in a way that we cannot know if theories in other science can be true. And even if we know that they CAN be true, we do not know if they are ‘true’ in the metaphysical sense, of being the most parsimonious theory possible.

We can for example, construct a mathematica proof given any set of axioms. this mathematical proof demonstrates that any mathematical expression is can be constructed using mathematical operations. We can also demonstrate a proof in economics if any economic statement can be constructed from sympathetically testable existentially possible, human operations. But mathematical models cannot demonstrate innovation due to self awareness, and intentionally bend or break axioms in order to satisfy self interest – but humans can, and do – that is what even Keyensian economics combined with trade, fiscal and monetary policy attempt to do – and successfully do.

It is therefore immoral and unscientific (an abuse of science) to claim that economic theories that are not operationally tested are true and moral. Whether we use empirical methods to observe and test our observations of economic phenomenon is merely a necessity of observation, and a necessity of compensating for our cognitive biases that forever jaundice our reason.

There is no exit from the above box. Sorry.

(Plenty of ‘peeps’ in there.)