Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Fascinating interview with Nobel prize winner

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Neal Irwin interviews Robert Shiller for the Washington Post. The interview is well worth reading. To take one example, Shiller notes:

When everyone else agrees that something is true, I don’t just jump in and assume the same.

I’ve always felt that people like to exaggerate their certainty about theories that their ego is involved with. I think something is suspect there when someone has such overwhelming certainty.

It’s also a philosophy of science. As a child I wanted to be a scientist. Maybe I’m trying to do that as as social scientist. I had a view that emerged as a child really that science is about respect for the facts, about really studying nature and trying to take into account all the facts. No legends or myths or self-serving stories. I wanted to know the real facts. I thought that’s what a scientist does. You devise an experiment if there’s any confusion.

When I was getting started I thought a lot of economics wasn’t in that mode. It was more storytelling. We have this model. We test it, but we’re really not testing it. We just love these models. We’ll lionize and publicize the facts that are consistent with the model, and anything that’s inconsistent with it, we’ll put in some ad hoc fix.

That has often bothered me about the economics profession.

Written by Leisureguy

15 October 2013 at 10:19 am

Posted in Science

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