Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Reality is not an aggregate of abstractions

T.M. Knox addresses the idea that scientific economics might be supplemented with what we might refer to as sociological studies in order to make it more applicable to reality. He is skeptical: “It maybe he doubted, however, whether the nature of economic science is such as to permit of an appendage of that kind. For if we want to know about the nature of space we go to a geometer; if we want to know about the nature of money we go to an economic scientist. But in each case we are being told the truth about an abstraction, which has the reality only of an abstraction. Concepts like ‘money’ are human actions or experiences frozen into immobility for the purposes of scientific analysis… [But] reality is not an aggregate or sum of abstractions.”  -- T.M. Knox, "The Study of Economic Activity," Philosophy, 1936

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