Friday, December 2, 2016

Friedman as Logician (ii)

Faust's pact with Mephisto,
engraving by Julius Nisle, circa 1840. [A]

The previous post argued that Friedman's methodology allows unsound arguments. Fine. So what?

That post provides material sufficient for an answer. As it happens, the answer turns out to be delightfully topical: unsound arguments are a Faustian bargain.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Free State of Jones.

Newton Knight (1837–1922). [A]
It's October, 1862. CSA Army medic Newton ("Newt") Knight, already sceptical about the real motivation behind the secession and appalled by the carnage he witnessed in the battlefield, deserted. Upon returning to his farm in Jones County, Mississippi, Knight witnesses the abuses visited by the Confederate authorities upon the white farm women left behind. Knight intervenes and is forced to join a band of runaway slaves, hiding in the swamps. Welcomed by the former slaves, Knight befriends and leads them, after finding they share a common cause.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Friedman as Logician (i)

"Few persons care to study logic, because everybody conceives himself to be proficient enough in the art of reasoning already. But I observe that this satisfaction is limited to one's own ratiocination, and does not extend to that of other men". Charles S. Peirce.
"You seem a little confused. You [sic] first statement ‘all dogs are mammals' is indeed circular". Phil Stein.

If the proposition "good reasoning is unimportant" were a human being, it would surely be an extremely unpopular and sad character: few would like to be seen in her company. In particular, economists and econo-aficionados of all stripes glory themselves in their assumed, but frequently unproven, logical thinking.