Analytical Envy

Great quote here about Economists trying to be cool like physicists:

The success of mathematical physics led the social scientist to be jealous of its power without quite understanding the intellectual attitudes that had contributed to this power.  The use of mathematical formulae had accompanied the development of the natural sciences….Very few econometricians are aware that if they are to imitate the procedure of modern physics and not its mere appearance, a mathematical economist must begin with a critical account of these quantitative notions and the means adopted for collecting and measuring them.

Apparently, the hard sciences were a real kick in the gut to every major branch of study – from economics to literature to psychology to art.  It’s as though math was so impressive that they all developed inferiority complexes and went off on quests to prove they were just as good.  So economics went all Keynesian and literature went all deconstruction and reader response.  But across the board, every major field of study that didn’t have something hard to measure either faked it, fudged it, or abandoned all pretense of logic.  What I don’t get is how people forgot that numbers aren’t the only way of thinking.  Rhetoric and inductive logic predate calculus by thousands of years.  These things don’t wear out with time; they just go out of fashion.

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