Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Tomas Sedlacek and Archetypal (Metaeconomical) Thinking

Ann Arbor
Tomas Sedlacek, in Economics of Good and Evil : The Quest for Economic Meaning from Gilgamesh to Wall Street, expresses the European philosophic-metaphysical approach to science when he writes:

 "I argue that mainstream economists have forsaken too many colors of economics and have been overobsessed with the black-and-white cult of homo economicus, which ignores issues of good and evil. We have created a self-inflicted blindness, a blindness to the most important driving forces of human actions. I argue that there is at least as much wisdom to be learned from our own philosophers, myths, religions, and poets as from exact and strict mathematical models of economic behavior. I argue that economics should seek, discover, and talk about its own values, although we have been taught that economics is a value-free science. I argue that none of this is true and that there is more religion, myth, and archetype in economics than there is mathematics." (Kindle Locations 234-239)

All "facts" are theory-laden, or worldview-laden. I have long appreciated this idea, especially as embraced by European thinking. American thinkers more easily and falsely embrace the myth of epistemic neutrality.

There's no such thing as "value-free science" because of the existence of scientists. "Science" does not tell us things; scientists do. (As if "science" was some kind of personal agent.)

Sedlacek engages in metaeconomical theorizing. He writes: "The study of metaeconomics is important. We should go beyond economics and study what beliefs are “behind the scenes,” ideas that have often become the dominant yet unspoken assumptions in our theories." (Kindle Locations 246-248) "Meta economics" is: "that which goes far beyond “household management” and asks about the meaning and purpose (telos) of these efforts." (Kindle Locations 2111-2112)