David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
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)|
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
Christopher Torr (1993). >What Can Austrian Economists Learn From the Post Keynesians? Reply to Davidson. Critical Review 7 (2-3):399-406.
Valeriano Iranzo (2008). Bayesianism and Inference to the Best Explanation. Theoria 23 (1):89-106.
Glen Whitman (1996). Myth, Measurement, and the Minimum Wage: Sound and Fury Signifying What? Critical Review 10 (4):607-619.
Bryan Caplan (2004). Is Socialism Really “Impossible”? Critical Review 16 (1):33-52.
Kenny Easwaran (2011). Bayesianism I: Introduction and Arguments in Favor. Philosophy Compass 6 (5):312-320.
Jon Williamson (2003). Bayesianism and Language Change. Journal of Logic, Language and Information 12 (1):53-97.
Jonathan Weisberg (2009). Locating IBE in the Bayesian Framework. Synthese 167 (1):125 - 143.
Added to index2009-02-15
Total downloads18 ( #141,475 of 1,699,799 )
Recent downloads (6 months)7 ( #88,892 of 1,699,799 )
How can I increase my downloads?