Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Neoclassical Paradigm and Propositional Attitudes

When sociology majors scoff at the philosophical economist's reference to an "invisible hand" approach, they are clearly not understanding the point of the argument, or the reason as to why it explains anything at all. I single-out sociology majors since they are usually not taught what mainstream economists say about free-market approaches, and to them this "market magic" sounds like superstition or an empty statement with no explanatory power. Those who share the concern that the hand is a more or less defunct metaphor, are only entertaining the kinds of impressions the sociology student has when he or she reflects on the dismal science from his or her distant perspective. It's a reflection about the things on the surface. Or perhaps it's a statement about the burden of proof in this situation. But I don't give it this much credit. It is only a reflection about a metaphor used in economics at its face value. And that is, after all, the best way to describe everything this sort of sociology student can understand about economics--whatever can be obtained at "face value".

No comments: