Bayesianism and austrian apriorism

Abstract
In the last published round of his debate with Walter Block on economic methodology,1 Bryan Caplan introduces Bayes’ Rule as ‘a cure for methodological schizofrenia’. Block had raised the question ‘Why do economists react so violently to empirical evidence against the conventional view of the minimum wage’s effect?’ and answered it with the suggestion that economists do so because they are covert praxeologists. This means that they base most of their economic arguments on conclusions derived from their a priori understanding of human action, although, as methodologists, they prefer to maintain that their arguments are merely appropriately qualified generalisations of empirical observations. Against this, Caplan maintained that neoclassical economists are Bayesians with some strong prior beliefs, which lead them to ascribe low probability to any statement that goes against the strongly held consensus. Presumably, there is such a strongly held consensus with respect to the minimum wage effect. Caplan concluded that ‘[t]he Bayesian position stakes out a compelling middle ground between atheoretical positivism and praxeology. On the one hand, the Bayesian view emphasizes that few propositions are known with certainty, and that we should adjust our probabilities as new information comes in. On the other hand, the Bayesian view recognizes that the rational view is not an average of past empirical findings, much less a naïve faith in the last prominent study.’ (C, p.83) Caplan’s references to Bayes should be considered carefully before we accept that Bayesianism makes for a middle ground—let alone a compelling one— between positivism and praxeology. The image of a middle ground may be soothing, but it is no more than a metaphor. Whether it makes sense in this context, is an altogether different matter..
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 12,101
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-02-15

Total downloads

11 ( #144,149 of 1,102,103 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #306,622 of 1,102,103 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.