Monday, December 02, 2013

The fallacy of misplaced concreteness

The phrase comes from the work of the brilliant Alfred North Whitehead. And it is on display here, where Noah Smith asks economists:

"To determine whether QE's failure to cause inflation is caused by a Williamson model..."

Yes, economists' models of real-world phenomena might be the cause of such phenomena!


  1. In context, I think you're treating Noah a bit unfairly. What he obviously means is, "the type of thing Williamson's model is capturing, or secular stagnation, or some other cause"

    1. Maybe, maybe... But if I'm wrong here, I'm right about this in lots of cases: Think of how many people would say that the law of gravity causes objects to fall to earth.


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