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« The Logic of Choice or the Logic of Action | Main | The TSA and the EWOT »


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Well, i didnt really follow most of that, but the speaker has an interesting twitch, where he looks like he is going to adjust or remove his glasses, but he just waves his hand there. It seemed to become more pronounced as he became more passionate. Thats all i have to add to this discussion.

From the little reading that I did on papers published in the last 70-80 years in the top journals, I had noticed that they continuously became more formal, more sterile and less interesting as the decades passed. Maybe is the principle of diminishing returns manifesting itself on the scientific production inside a certain paradigm.

John makes the point that "formal" theory is not needed for the majority of empirical study. To me this begs the question: what is formal theory needed for? I was taught that the strength of neo-classical economics is that it provides testable hypotheses.

Taking up Nye's comments on the pitfalls of the mathematical approach, this is a nice piece.


The point is that mathematics has to deal with well-defined situations and in science mathematics can only be usefully applied after the science side of things has been sorted out to the point where simplification can be achieved without losing touch with reality. Or at least where the departure from reality is clearly undestood so that the results of the analysis are not confused with reality itself.

“Give a mathematician a situation which is the least bit ill-defined — he will first of all make it well defined. Perhaps appropriately, but perhaps inappropriately.The hydrogen atom illustrates this process…with the danger that…the mathematician turns the scientist’s theoretical assumptions, i.e., convenient points of analytical emphasis, into axioms, and then takes these axioms literally. This brings with it the danger that he may also persuade the scientist to take these axioms literally…In this way, mathematics has often succeeded in proving, for instance, that the fundamental objects of the scientist’s calculations do not exist.”

North Carolina. I dont know how accurate this is but I have been told that his band was known as, Rambling Red and The Blue Sky Rangers. Some local residents also called the group another name, Rambling Red and the Frog Level Snot Slingers. Several years ago at a friends house in Tuxedo, I was able to listen to an old reel to reel recording of one of his programs. A young boy who sang and played the mandolin on this particular program was none other than the Reverend Harold McKinnish a well known minister who later was Pastor at Tuxedo First Baptist Church.

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