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Marcel Boumans [37]Marcel J. Boumans [10]
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Marcel Boumans
Utrecht University
  1.  84
    Built-in justification.Marcel J. Boumans - unknown
    In several accounts of what models are and how they function a specific view dominates. This view contains the following characteristics. First, there is a clear-cut distinction between theories, models and data and secondly, empirical assessment takes place after the model is built. This view in which discovery and justification are disconnected is not in accordance with several practices of mathematical business-cycle model building. What these practices show is that models have to meet implicit criteria of adequacy, such as satisfying (...)
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  2.  6
    How Economists Model the World Into Numbers.Marcel Boumans - 2005 - Routledge.
    Economics is dominated by model building, therefore a comprehension of how such models work is vital to understanding the discipline. This book provides a critical analysis of the economist's favourite tool, and as such will be an enlightening read for some, and an intriguing one for others.
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  3.  6
    Science Outside the Laboratory: Measurement in Field Science and Economics.Marcel Boumans - 2015 - New York, US: Oxford University Press.
    The conduct of most of social science occurs outside the laboratory. Such studies in field science explore phenomena that cannot for practical, technical, or ethical reasons be explored under controlled conditions. These phenomena cannot be fully isolated from their environment or investigated by manipulation or intervention. Yet measurement, including rigorous or clinical measurement, does provide analysts with a sound basis for discerning what occurs under field conditions, and why. In Science Outside the Laboratory, Marcel Boumans explores the state of measurement (...)
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  4.  16
    Flattening the curve is flattening the complexity of covid-19.Marcel Boumans - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (1):1-15.
    Since the February 2020 publication of the article ‘Flattening the curve’ in The Economist, political leaders worldwide have used this expression to legitimize the introduction of social distancing measures in fighting Covid-19. In fact, this expression represents a complex combination of three components: the shape of the epidemic curve, the social distancing measures and the reproduction number \. Each component has its own history, each with a different history of control. Presenting the control of the epidemic as flattening the curve (...)
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  5.  71
    Secrets hidden by two-dimensionality: The economy as a hydraulic machine.Mary S. Morgan & Marcel J. Boumans - unknown
    A long-standing tradition presents economic activity in terms of the flow of fluids. This metaphor lies behind a small but influential practice of hydraulic modelling in economics. Yet turning the metaphor into a three-dimensional hydraulic model of the economic system entails making numerous and detailed commitments about the analogy between hydraulics and the economy. The most famous 3-D model in economics is probably the Phillips machine, the central object of this paper.
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  6.  67
    Measurement Outside the Laboratory.Marcel Boumans - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (5):850-863.
    The kinds of models discussed in this paper function as measuring instruments. We will concentrate on two necessary steps for measurement: (1) the search of a mathematical representation of the phenomenon; (2) this representation should cover an invariant relationship between the properties of the phenomenon to be measured and observable accociated attributes of a measuring instrument. Therefore, the measuring instrument should function as a nomological machine. However, invariant relationships are not necessarily ceteris paribus regularities, but could also occur when the (...)
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  7.  22
    How to design galilean fall experiments in economics.Marcel Boumans - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (2):308-329.
    In the social sciences we hardly can create laboratory conditions, we only can try to find out which kinds of experiments Nature has carried out. Knowledge about Nature's designs can be used to infer conditions for reliable predictions. This problem was explicitly dealt with in Haavelmo's (1944) discussion of autonomous relationships, Friedman's (1953) as-if methodology, and Simon's (1961) discussions of nearly-decomposable systems. All three accounts take Marshallian partitioning as starting point, however not with a sharp ceteris paribus razor but with (...)
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  8.  41
    Invariance and calibration.Marcel J. Boumans - unknown
    The Representational Theory of Measurement conceives measurement as establishing homomorphisms from empirical relational structures into numerical relation structures, called models. Models function as measuring instruments by transferring observations of an economic system into quantitative facts about that system. These facts are evaluated by their accuracy. Accuracy is achieved by calibration. For calibration standards are needed. Then two strategies can be distinguished. One aims at estimating the invariant (structural) equations of the system. The other is to use known stable facts about (...)
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  9.  81
    Measurement in Economics.Marcel Boumans - 2012 - In Uskali Mäki, Dov M. Gabbay, Paul Thagard & John Woods (eds.), Philosophy of Economics. North Holland. pp. 395.
  10. Materials selection in economic modeling.Marcel Boumans - 2023 - Synthese 201 (4):1-17.
    Templates travel because they offer a tractable format that can be used for model-building in a variety of domains. It is often because of this quality that a particular template is chosen. But one cannot assume that there are always templates ready to model a new phenomenon, and moreover, templates have also been designed at some point. A critical aspect of this designing process is the choice of the mathematical objects with which one hopes to capture this phenomenon. This means (...)
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  11. Materials Selection in Economic Modeling.Marcel Boumans - manuscript
    Templates travel because they offer a tractable format that can be used for model-building in a variety of domains. It is often because of this quality that a particular template is chosen. But one cannot assume that there are always templates ready to model a new phenomenon, and moreover, templates have also been designed at some point. A critical aspect of this designing process is the choice of the mathematical objects with which one hopes to capture this phenomenon. This means (...)
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  12.  42
    The difference between answering a 'why' - question and answering a 'how much' - question.Marcel J. Boumans - unknown
    Generally, simulations are carried out to answer specific questions. The assessment of the reliability of an answer depends on the kind of question investigated. The answer to a 'why' question is an explanation. The premises of an explanation have to include invariant relationships, and thus the reliability of such answer depends on whether the domain of invariance of the relevant relationships covers the domain of the question. The answer to a 'how much' question is a measurement. A measurement is reliable (...)
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  13.  13
    Graph-based inductive reasoning.Marcel Boumans - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 59:1-10.
  14.  12
    Methodological ignorance: A comment on field experiments and methodological intolerance.Marcel Boumans - 2016 - Journal of Economic Methodology 23 (2):139-146.
    Glenn Harrison [Journal of Economic Methodology, 2013, 20, 103–117] discusses four related forms of methodological intolerance with respect to field experiments: field experiments should rely on some form of randomization, should be disconnected from theory, the concept of causality should only be defined in terms of observables, and the role of laboratory experiments is dismissed. As is often the case, the cause of intolerance is ignorance, as it is here. To acquire knowledge about potential influences, which we need for both (...)
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  15.  23
    Suppes’s outlines of an empirical measurement theory.Marcel Boumans - 2016 - Journal of Economic Methodology 23 (3):305-315.
    According to Suppes, measurement theory, like any scientific theory, should consist of two parts, a set-theoretical defined structure and the empirical interpretation of that structure. An empirical interpretation means the specification – ‘coordinating definitions’ – of a ‘hierarchy of models’ between the theory and the experimental results. But in the case of measurement theory, he defined the relationship between numerical structure and the empirical structure specifically in terms of homomorphism. This is rather a highly restrictive relation between models, and therefore (...)
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  16. Models in Economics.Marcel Boumans - 2004 - In John Bryan Davis & Alain Marciano (eds.), The Elgar Companion to Economics and Philosophy. Edward Elgar. pp. 260--282.
  17.  69
    Modeling Strategies for Measuring Phenomena In- and Outside the Laboratory.Marcel Boumans - 2009 - In Henk W. de Regt (ed.), Epsa Philosophy of Science: Amsterdam 2009. Springer. pp. 1--11.
    The Representational Theory of Measurement conceives measurement as establishing homomorphisms from empirical relational structures into numerical relation structures, called models. There are two different approaches to deal with the justification of a model: an axiomatic and an empirical approach. The axiomatic approach verifies whether a given relational structure satisfies certain axioms to secure homomorphic mapping. The empirical approach conceives models to function as measuring instruments by transferring observations of a phenomenon under investigation into quantitative facts about that phenomenon. These facts (...)
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  18.  44
    Battle in the planning office: Field experts versus normative statisticians.Marcel Boumans - 2008 - Social Epistemology 22 (4):389 – 404.
    Generally, rational decision-making is conceived as arriving at a decision by a correct application of the rules of logic and statistics. If not, the conclusions are called biased. After an impressive series of experiments and tests carried out in the last few decades, the view arose that rationality is tough for all, skilled field experts not excluded. A new type of planner's counsellor is called for: the normative statistician, the expert in reasoning with uncertainty par excellence. To unravel this view, (...)
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  19.  81
    The reliability of an instrument.Marcel Boumans - 2004 - Social Epistemology 18 (2 & 3):215 – 246.
    Scientific measurements are made objective through the use of reliable instruments. Instruments can have this function because they can - as material objects - be investigated independently of the specific measurements at hand. However, their materiality appears to be crucial for the assessment of their reliability. The usual strategies to investigate an instrument’s reliability depend on and assume possibilities of control, and control is usually specified in terms of materiality of the instrument and environment. The aim of this paper is (...)
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  20.  12
    Do you see it this way? Visualising as a tool of sense-making.Marcel Boumans & Mary S. Morgan - 2023 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 101 (C):30-39.
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  21.  28
    Truth versus precision.Marcel J. Boumans - unknown
    A typical difference between social science and natural science is the degree in which control is possible. Strategies in both sciences to obtain true facts are consequently different. Measurement errors are due to background noise. Laboratories are environments in which background conditions can be controlled. As a result, accurate observations { measurement results close to the true values of the measurands { can only be obtained in laboratories. Therefore, measuring instruments are built such that they function as mini laboratories. However, (...)
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  22. Progress in Economics.Catherine Herfeld & Marcel Boumans - forthcoming - In Yafeng Shan (ed.), New Philosophical Perspectives on Scientific Progres. New York and London:
    In this chapter, we discuss a specific kind of progress that occurs in most branches of economics today: progress involving the repeated use of mathematical models. We adopt a functional account of progress to argue that progress in economics occurs through the use of what we call “common recipes” and model templates for defining and solving problems of relevance for economists. We support our argument by discussing the case of 20th century business cycle research. By presenting this case study in (...)
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  23. Introduction: philosophy of science in practice. [REVIEW]Rachel Ankeny, Hasok Chang, Marcel Boumans & Mieke Boon - 2011 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (3):303-307.
    Introduction: philosophy of science in practice Content Type Journal Article Category Editorial Article Pages 303-307 DOI 10.1007/s13194-011-0036-4 Authors Rachel Ankeny, School of History & Politics, University of Adelaide, Napier Building, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia Hasok Chang, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, Free School Lane, Cambridge, CB2 3RH UK Marcel Boumans, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Amsterdam, Valckenierstraat 65-67, 1018 XE Amsterdam, The Netherlands Mieke Boon, Department of Philosophy, University of (...)
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  24.  21
    Introduction to the symposium 'applying science'.Rens Bod, Mieke Boon & Marcel Boumans - 2006 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 20 (1):1 – 3.
    Unlike basic sciences, scientific research in advanced technologies aims to explain, predict, and describe not phenomena in nature, but phenomena in technological artefacts, thereby producing knowledge that is utilized in technological design. This article first explains why the covering‐law view of applying science is inadequate for characterizing this research practice. Instead, the covering‐law approach and causal explanation are integrated in this practice. Ludwig Prandtl’s approach to concrete fluid flows is used as an example of scientific research in the engineering sciences. (...)
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  25. 13 Models in economics.Marcel Boumans - 2004 - In John Bryan Davis & Alain Marciano (eds.), The Elgar Companion to Economics and Philosophy. Edward Elgar. pp. 260.
     
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  26.  27
    Measure for Measure: How Economists Model the World into Numbers.Marcel Boumans - 2001 - Social Research: An International Quarterly 68.
    The practice of economic science is dominated by model building. To evaluate economic policy, models are built and used to produce numbers to inform us about economic phenomena. Although phenomena are detected through the use of observed data, they are in general not directly observable. To 'see' them we need instruments. More particularly, to obtain numerical facts of the phenomena we need measuring instruments. This paper will argue that in economics models function as such instruments of observation, more specific as (...)
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  27.  5
    Progress in economics.Marcel Boumans & Catherine Herfeld - 2023 - In Yafeng Shan (ed.), New Philosophical Perspectives on Scientific Progress. Routledge. pp. 224-244.
    In this chapter, we discuss a specific kind of progress in economics, namely, progress that is pushed by the repeated use of mathematical models in most sub-branches of economics today. We adopt a functional account of progress to argue that progress in economics occurs via the use of what we call ‘common recipes’ and the use of model templates to define and solve problems of relevance for economists. We support our argument by discussing the case of twentieth-century business cycle research. (...)
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  28.  3
    : Modelwork: The Material Culture of Making and Knowing.Marcel Boumans - 2023 - Isis 114 (4):867-868.
  29.  20
    Astrid Schwarz: Experiments in Practice.Marcel Boumans - 2015 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 46 (1):237-240.
    Notwithstanding the fact that a lot, if not most, of science is done outside the laboratory, most literature in the history and philosophy of science, when discussing the experimental method, focus only on experimentation “within the walls of a laboratory” . To fill this embarrassing gap, Astrid Schwarz has written an excellent book on field experimentation. The field, however, is a much more messy site than a clean lab. In an introduction to a special issue of Osiris on field science, (...)
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  30.  38
    Calibration of models in experiments.Marcel J. Boumans - unknown
    The assessment of models in an experiment depends on their material nature and their function in the experiment. Models that are used to make the phenomenon under investigation visible - sensors - are assessed by calibration. However, calibration strategies assume material intervention. The experiment discssed in this paper is an experiment in economics to measure the influence of technology shocks on business cycles. It uses immaterial, mathematical instruments. It appears that calibration did not work for these kinds of models, it (...)
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  31.  5
    Experts and Consensus in Social Science.Marcel Boumans & Carlo Martini (eds.) - 2014 - Cham: Imprint: Springer.
    This book brings together the research of philosophers and social scientists. It examines those areas of scientific practice where reliance on the subjective judgment of experts and practitioners is the main source of useful knowledge to address, and, possibly, bring solutions to social problems. A common phenomenon in applications of science is that objective evidence does not point to a single answer, or solution, to a problem. Reliance on subjective judgment, then, becomes necessary, despite the known fact that hunches, even (...)
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  32.  18
    Error and Uncertainty in Scientific Practice.Marcel Boumans, Giora Hon & Arthur C. Petersen (eds.) - 2014 - Pickering & Chatto.
    Assessment of error and uncertainty is a vital component of both natural and social science. This edited volume presents case studies of research practices across a wide spectrum of scientific fields. It compares methodologies and presents the ingredients needed for an overarching framework applicable to all.
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  33. Foreword to 'objects of objectivity'.Marcel Boumans & Anne Beaulieu - 2004 - Social Epistemology 18 (2-3):105-108.
    Objectivity has fruitfully been explored in last two decades, manifested by the many studies on ‘objectivity’ in various scientific disciplines. Due to the variety of contexts studied, the focus on...
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  34.  48
    Grey-box understanding in economics.Marcel J. Boumans - unknown
    In economics, models are built to answer specific questions. Each type of question requires its own type of models; in other words, it defines the requirements that a model should meet and thereby instructs how the models should be built. An explanation is an answer to a ‘why’-question. In economics, this answer is provided by a white -box model. To answer a ‘how much’-question, which is asking for a measurement, economists can make use of black-box models. Economic phenomena are often (...)
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  35.  18
    Hoe economen begrijpen.Marcel Boumans - 2011 - Wijsgerig Perspectief 51 (2):22-31.
    In de economische wetenschap worden vragen beantwoord met behulp van modellen. Voor ieder type vraag bestaat een eigen klasse van modellen. Het type vraag bepaalt de eisen waaraan het model moet voldoen en geeft daarbij aan hoe de modellen gemaakt dienen te worden. Dit artikel behandelt de vraag die gesteld wordt om tot begrip te komen: de ‘hoezo-vraag’. Om duidelijk te maken welke modellen hoezo-vragen impliceren zal dit type vraag vergeleken worden met ‘waarom-vragen’ en ‘hoeveelvragen’. Het antwoord op een waarom-vraag (...)
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  36.  41
    Measurement in economic systems.Marcel J. Boumans - unknown
    The metrology literature neglects a strong empirical measurement tradition in economics, which is different from the traditions as accounted for by the formalist representational theory of measurement. This empirical tradition comes closest to Mari's characterization of measurement in which he describes measurement results as informationally adequate to given goals. In economics, one has to deal with soft systems, which induces problems of invariance and of self-awareness. It will be shown that in the empirical economic measurement tradition both problems have been (...)
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  37.  12
    Observations of an expert.Marcel J. Boumans - unknown
    This paper discusses the role of expert’s observations in different practices of decision making. In these practices it is never the case that the observations of one sole expert is being used, so discussing the role of expert’s observations implies a discussion of how these observations are combined.
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  38.  2
    Shaping the Phenomena.Marcel Boumans - 2022 - Revue de Philosophie Économique 22 (1):85-105.
    The current expression of “flatten the curve” has similarities with mid-twentieth century macro-economic policy that can aptly be characterized as “shaping macro phenomena.” To the extent these similarities hold, the historical-epistemological analysis of this kind of macro-economic policy can provides us with a better understanding of the preconditions for the effectiveness of the current COVID-19 flatten-the-curve policy. Policy in terms of shaping a phenomenon presumes that the phenomenon in question exists and has a certain shape that can be moulded. This (...)
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  39.  23
    The Rhetoric of Error from Locke to Kleist.Marcel Boumans - 2014 - The European Legacy 19 (6):785-786.
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  40.  79
    When evidence is not in the mean.Marcel J. Boumans - unknown
    When observing or measuring phenomena, errors are inevitable, one can only aspire to reduce these errors as much as possible. An obvious strategy to achieve this reduction is by using more precise instruments. Another strategy was to develop a theory of these errors that could indicate how to take them into account. One of the greatest achievements of statistics in the beginning of the 19th century was such a theory of error. This theory told the practitioners that the best thing (...)
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  41.  25
    Second Biennial Conference of the Society for Philosophy of Science in Practice.Hasok Chang, Marcel Boumans, Mieke Boon & Rachel Ankeny - 2010 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 41 (1):233-235.
  42.  41
    Introduction: On the Philosophy of Science in Practice. [REVIEW]Marcel Boumans & Sabina Leonelli - 2013 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 44 (2):259-261.
  43. 10. Response to Vollmer's Review of Minds and Molecules Response to Vollmer's Review of Minds and Molecules (pp. 391-398). [REVIEW]Paul Thagard, Richard Richards, Denis M. Walsh & Marcel Boumans - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (2).
  44.  8
    Astrid Schwarz: Experiments in Practice: Pickering & Chatto Publishers, London 2014, 272 pp, £60.00, ISBN: 9781848934856. [REVIEW]Marcel Boumans - 2015 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 46 (1):237-240.
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  45.  10
    E. Roy Weintraub: How Economics Became A Mathematical Science. [REVIEW]Marcel Boumans - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (4):852-855.
  46.  23
    The Universe in Zero Words: The Story of Mathematics as Told Through Equations. [REVIEW]Marcel Boumans - 2015 - The European Legacy 20 (5):558-559.
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