Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Excerpts from Physics for the Rest of Us

.. and the relation to economic models:

... are predictive accuracy and control over nature the only legitimate criteria by which to evaluate the influence and significance of science. ... Our concern is not simply with the efficacy of science but with its ability to help human beings rationalize and make sense of their lives and experiences. (pg. 93)

Okay, so the latter part of the last sentence really doesn't apply to economics except within the profession itself. There is in some sense a dichotomy in economic modeling where models are either used to predict (forecasting models) and models that are used to explain/rationalize stylized facts (e.g. DSGE models) although there has been some movement combining both these aspects but I think the dichotomy still exists. There is also an attitude with some of those who work exclusively with DSGE models who look down on econometric forecasting models - which does not seem to be as present in the physical sciences (at least from my reading of this book).

The equivalence of science (and economics) with religion:

They both use specialized language for formal, precise communication ... Each has its revered body of literature in the form of scripture or research journals and monographs. Each requires a prolonged austere period of training ... (pg. 134)

No comments: