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Their idea of physics is from the 1850s and their idea of mathematics is pre-Gödel formalism.

Robert Vienneau: What Is Mathematics - And Sraffa (OCTOBER 27, 2012)

Noah Smith offers a definition: "Mathematics is the manipulation of the symbols of a language according to explicit, syntactical rules." ("Unlearning Economics" has also recently written on mathematics in economics). To me, the manipulation of meaningless symbols is a powerful form of reasoning. ...


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 6th, 2012 at 04:21:31 PM EST
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WTF?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 6th, 2012 at 07:12:34 PM EST
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Noah Smith styles himself an authority.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 6th, 2012 at 08:54:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, he says:

Noahpinion: What is math, and why should we use it in economics?

For example, the definition I tended to like in college was called the "formalist" definition: 
"Mathematics is the manipulation of the symbols of a language according to explicit, syntactical rules."

It seemed to me that definition just boils down to "Mathematics is a language". Noah Smith goes on to say: "Basically, this just means "math" = "logic". So logic is a language.

He goes on to argue that maths is about making precise statements, and that is its usefulness to economics.

This seems woefully short (to my unschooled mind). I'd be in need of some Socratic midwifery on:

Migeru:

...their idea of mathematics is pre-Gödel formalism.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 7th, 2012 at 02:26:36 AM EST
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The problem is the implication 'economics = logic' when 'economics = rhetoric' would be more honest and accurate.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Dec 7th, 2012 at 04:02:39 AM EST
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Just bring in Lakoff's Math = Rhetoric and be done with it.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 7th, 2012 at 04:20:31 AM EST
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Logic is the study of the structure (formal or otherwise) of an argument. No such thing as "A Logic."  There is: Combinatory Logic, Default Logic, Deontic Logic, Deviant Logic, Dynamic Logic, Epistemic Logic, Erotetic Logic, Formal Logic, Free Logic, Higher-Order Logic, Infinitary Logic, Informal Logic, Intensional Logic, Many-Valued Logic, Mathematical Logic, Modal Logic, Non-Monotonic Logic, Ordinal Logic, Pluralitive Logic, Predicate Logic, Quantum Logic, Relational Logic, Second-Order Logic, Symbolic Logic, Tense Logic, Terminist Logic, Three-Value Logic, Syllogistic Logic, Boolean Logic, and Abductive Logic ... to build a short list ... all of which can determine the Truth/Falsity of an argument.  But they say nothing about the accuracy of an argument.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Fri Dec 7th, 2012 at 12:58:37 PM EST
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GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out)

How related the second G is to the first one is what logic and math is about :)

The problems of economics is that most assumptions are G. All the maths in the world cant solve that.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Dec 8th, 2012 at 08:19:47 AM EST
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"manipulation" is right, I guess.

Use silly assumptions, camouflage them with lots of equations, and taxa, you have "objective" policy recommendations.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Dec 8th, 2012 at 08:22:18 AM EST
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Speaking of this, I've noted that many lawyers have trouble drafting properly documentation because they don't understand maths and logic. For them, "not all" and "nothing" is sometimes the same thing, and distinguishing ((A AND B) OR C) and (A AND (B OR C)) is basically impossible.

So on commercials items, I prefer to the do the legal drafting myself to avoid hopelessly wrong clauses.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Dec 8th, 2012 at 08:25:17 AM EST
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Engineers vs. lawyers, part MDCCXXIII :)
by Bernard on Sat Dec 8th, 2012 at 11:04:41 AM EST
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