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Scott Scheall
Arizona State University
  1. The Priority of the Epistemic.Parker Crutchfield & Scott Scheall - 2021 - Episteme 18 (4):726-737.
    Epistemic burdens – the nature and extent of our ignorance (that and how) with respect to various courses of action – serve to determine our incentive structures. Courses of action that seem to bear impossibly heavy epistemic burdens are typically not counted as options in an actor’s menu, while courses of action that seem to bear comparatively heavy epistemic burdens are systematically discounted in an actor’s menu relative to options that appear less epistemically burdensome. That ignorance serves to determine what (...)
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  2. Epistemic Burdens, Moral Intimacy, and Surrogate Decision Making.Parker Crutchfield & Scott Scheall - 2020 - American Journal of Bioethics 20 (2):59-61.
    Berger (forthcoming) states that moral intimacy is important in applying the best interests standard. But what he calls moral intimacy requires that someone has overcome epistemic burdens needed to represent the patient. We argue elsewhere that good surrogate decision-making is first and foremost a matter of overcoming epistemic burdens, or those obstacles that stand in the way of a surrogate decision-maker knowing what a patient wants and how to satisfy those preferences. Berger’s notion of moral intimacy depends on epistemic intimacy: (...)
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  3. Hayek the Apriorist?Scott Scheall - 2015 - Journal of the History of Economic Thought:87-110.
    The paper aims to establish that Terence Hutchison’s argument in The Politics and Philosophy of Economics (1981) to the effect that the young F.A. Hayek maintained a methodological position markedly similar to that of Ludwig von Mises fails to establish the relevant conclusion. The first problem with Hutchison’s argument is that it is not clear exactly what conclusion he meant to establish with regard to the methodological views of the two paragons of 20th century Austrian economics. Mises (in)famously maintained a (...)
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  4. Epistemic burdens and the incentives of surrogate decision-makers.Parker Crutchfield & Scott Scheall - 2019 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 22 (4):613-621.
    We aim to establish the following claim: other factors held constant, the relative weights of the epistemic burdens of competing treatment options serve to determine the options that patient surrogates pursue. Simply put, surrogates confront an incentive, ceteris paribus, to pursue treatment options with respect to which their knowledge is most adequate to the requirements of the case. Regardless of what the patient would choose, options that require more knowledge than the surrogate possesses (or is likely to learn) will either (...)
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  5.  21
    The Vacuity of Ludwig von Mises’s Apriorism.Scott Scheall - manuscript
    Ludwig von Mises’s methodological apriorism is frequently attributed to the broader Austrian School of economics, of which, of course, Mises was a prominent member. However, there is considerable controversy concerning the meaning of Mises’s various attempts to justify his apriorism. There are prima facie inconsistencies within and across Mises’s methodological writings that engender massive confusion in the secondary literature. This confusion is aggravated by the fact that Mises’s apriorism cannot be straightforwardly interpreted as an artifact of his historical milieu. Indeed, (...)
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  6.  31
    F. A. Hayek and the Epistemology of Politics: The Curious Task of Economics.Scott Scheall - 2020 - London: Routledge.
    "F. A. Hayek and the Epistemology of Politics is an exploration of an important problem that has largely been ignored: the problem of policymaker ignorance, and the limits of political epistemology. Scott Scheall explores Hayek's attitude to the philosophy of science and political philosophy, arguing that Hayek defended a philosophy of science that implied certain potential dangers of politicized science, and that his political philosophy established the potential dangers of misapplying scientific methods and results to matters of public policy. The (...)
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  7.  15
    ’Liberalism and / or Socialism?’ The Wrong Question?Scott Scheall - forthcoming - In Stéphane Guy (ed.), Liberalism and Socialism since the Nineteenth Century: Tensions, Exchanges and Convergences. London: Palgrave.
    Political questions are typically framed in normative terms, in terms of the political actions that we (or our political representatives) “ought” to take or, alternatively, in terms of the political philosophies that “should” inform our political actions. “Should we be liberals or socialists, or should we (somehow) combine liberalism and socialism?” -/- Such questions are typically posed and debates around such questions emerge with little, if any, prior consideration of a question that is, logically speaking, more fundamental: “What can we (...)
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  8.  9
    Spontaneity as a Concept of General Significance: The Austrian School on Money and Economic Order.Scott Scheall - forthcoming - In Joseph Tinguely (ed.), Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Money. London: Palgrave.
    I examine the history of the concept of spontaneity in philosophy and the social sciences, particularly as it relates to monetary phenomena. I then offer an argument for the general significance of spontaneity. The essay concludes that scholars across the humanities and social sciences, whatever their (disciplinary, political, ideological, etc.) persuasion, would be well-served to further develop the theory of spontaneity and its social effects.
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  9.  14
    Complexity, Policymaking, and The Austrian Denial of Macroeconomics.Scott Scheall - forthcoming - In Bert Tieben, Victoria Chick & Jesper Jespersen (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Macroeconomic Methodology. Milton Park, Abingdon-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England, UK: Routledge.
    Economists associated with the Austrian School of Economics are known to deny the value of macroeconomics as descended from the work of John Maynard Keynes and, especially, his followers. Yet, Austrian economists regularly engage in a related scientific activity: theorizing about the causes and consequences of economic fluctuations, i.e., the business cycle. What explains the Austrians’ willingness to engage in theorizing about the business cycle while denying the scientific import of macroeconomics? The present paper argues that the methodological precepts of (...)
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  10. Lesser Degrees of Explanation: Some Implications of F.A. Hayek’s Methodology of Sciences of Complex Phenomena.Scott Scheall - 2015 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 8 (1):42-60.
    From the early-1950s on, F.A. Hayek was concerned with the development of a methodology of sciences that study systems of complex phenomena. Hayek argued that the knowledge that can be acquired about such systems is, in virtue of their complexity (and the comparatively narrow boundaries of human cognitive faculties), relatively limited. The paper aims to elucidate the implications of Hayek’s methodology with respect to the specific dimensions along which the scientist’s knowledge of some complex phenomena may be limited. Hayek’s fallibilism (...)
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  11.  31
    Lesser degrees of explanation: further implications of F. A. Hayek's methodology of sciences of complex phenomena.Scott Scheall - 2015 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 8 (1):42.
    F.A. Hayek argued that the sciences of complex phenomena, including (perhaps especially) economics, are limited to incomplete “explanations of the principle” and “pattern predictions.” According to Hayek, these disciplines suffer from (what I call) a data problem, i.e., the hopelessness of populating theoretical models with data adequate to full explanations and precise predictions. In Hayek’s terms, explanations in these fields are always a matter of “degree.” However, Hayek’s methodology implies a distinct theory problem: theoretical models of complex phenomena may be (...)
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  12.  18
    Truth, Pragmatism, and Democracy: Another Route to the Liberal Values.Michael Gifford & Scott Scheall - 2022 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 58 (2):97-113.
    Cheryl Misak (2000; 2008a; 2008b; Misak and Talisse 2014; Misak and Talisse 2021) has presented an argument for democracy based on her analysis of the writings of Charles Sanders Peirce: If we care about the truth of our beliefs – as everyone does, according to Misak – then we ought to support democratic norms and democratic political institutions. We argue in the present paper that Misak’s argument does not adequately justify a democratic political system. Her argument does, however, justify a (...)
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  13. A Hayekian Explanation of Hayek's 'Epistemic Turn'.Scott Scheall - 2015 - Economic Thought 4 (2):32.
    The present essay aims to account for F.A. Hayek's oft-noted 'turn' away from technical economics to concerns of a more philosophical nature. In particular, the paper seeks an explanatory principle that reconciles various elements of both continuity and discontinuity in Hayek's intellectual development, especially with respect to the evolution of his arguments concerning economic fluctuations. The essay uncovers such an explanatory principle in Hayek's own methodology of sciences of complex phenomena. According to this principle, an inquirer who confronts phenomena too (...)
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  14. Hayek's Epistemic Theory of Industrial Fluctuations.Scott Scheall - 2015 - History of Economic Ideas (1):101-122.
    F.A. Hayek essentially quit economic theory and gave up the phenomena of industrial fluctuations as an explicit object of theoretical investigation following the publication of his last work in technical economics, 1941’s The Pure Theory of Capital. Nonetheless, several of Hayek’s more methodologically-oriented writings bear important implications for economic phenomena, especially those of industrial fluctuations. Decisions (usually, for Hayek, of a political nature) taken on the basis of a “pretence” of knowledge impede the operation of the price system’s belief-coordinating function (...)
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  15.  21
    Review of Alexander Linsbichler’s Was Ludwig von Mises a Conventionalist? A New Analysis of the Epistemology of the Austrian School of Economics. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, ix + 151 pp. [REVIEW]Scott Scheall - 2017 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 10 (2):110-115.
  16. A Case Study in the Problem of Policymaker Ignorance: Political Responses to COVID-19.Scott Scheall & Parker Crutchfield - 2021 - Cosmos + Taxis: Studies in Emergent Order and Organization 9 (5 + 6):18-28.
    We apply the analysis that we have developed over the course of several publications on the significance of ignorance for decision-making, especially in surrogate (and, thus, in political) contexts, to political decision-making, such as it has been, during the COVID-19 pandemic (see Scheall 2019; Crutchfield and Scheall 2019; Scheall and Crutchfield 2020; Scheall 2020). Policy responses to the coronavirus constitute a case study of the problem of policymaker ignorance. We argue that political responses to the virus cannot be explained by (...)
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  17.  14
    Karl Menger’s Unfinished Biography of His Father: New Insights into Carl Menger’s Life Through 1889.Reinhard Schumacher & Scott Scheall - 2020 - In Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology, Volume 38B.
    During the last years of his life, the mathematician Karl Menger worked on a biography of his father, the economist and founder of the Austrian School of Economics, Carl Menger. The younger Menger never finished the work. While working in the Menger collections at Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, we discovered draft chapters of the biography, a valuable source of information given that relatively little is known about Carl Menger’s life nearly a hundred years after (...)
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  18.  13
    Karl Menger as Son of Carl Menger.Scott Scheall & Reinhard Schumacher - 2018 - History of Political Economy 50 (4):649-678.
    Although their contributions to the history of economic thought and their scholarly reputations are firmly established, relatively little is known about the relationship between Carl Menger, founder of the Austrian School of economics, and his son, Karl Menger, the mathematician, geometer, logician, and philosopher of science, whose famous Mathematical Colloquium at the University of Vienna was central to the early literature on the existence of general equilibrium and the concomitant development of mathematical economics. The present paper begins to fill this (...)
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  19. Slaves of the defunct: the epistemic intractability of the Hayek–Keynes debate.Scott Scheall - 2015 - Journal of Economic Methodology (2):1-20.
    The present essay addresses the epistemic difficulties involved in achieving consensus with respect to the Hayek–Keynes debate. It is argued that the empirical implications of the relevant theories are such that, regardless of what is observed, both theories can be interpreted as true, or at least, as not falsified. The essay explicates the respects in which the empirical evidence underdetermines the choice between the relevant theories. In particular, it is argued both that there are convenient responses that protect each theory (...)
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  20.  11
    On the Method Appropriate to Hayek Studies.Scott Scheall - 2019 - Œconomia ­­– History / Methodology / Philosophy 9 (1):29-35.
    The paper considers the significance of F. A. Hayek’s writings on the study of complex phenomena for the study of the very complex phenom- ena of Hayek’s own life and career. It is argued that the methodological principle which Hayek recommended for the investigation of complex phenomena is applicable to explanations of his own intellectual develop- ment. Indeed, it is argued that the extent to which a Hayek scholar re- spects this principle in their attempts to explain Hayek’s life and (...)
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  21.  9
    Ignorance and the Incentive Structure confronting Policymakers.Scott Scheall - 2019 - Cosmos + Taxis Studies in Emergent Order and Organization 7 (1 + 2):39-51.
    The paper examines one of the considerations that determines the extent to which policymakers pursue the objec- tives demanded by constituents. The nature and extent of their ignorance serve to determine the incentives confronted by policymakers to pursue their constituents’ demands. The paper also considers several other consequences of policymaker ig- norance and its relationship to expert failure.
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  22. Later Wittgenstein and the Problem of Easy Knowledge.Scott Scheall - 2011 - Philosophical Investigations 34 (3):268-286.
    Consider the following epistemological principle:KR: A knowledge source K can yield knowledge for subject S only if S knows K is reliable.Traditional epistemologists face a dilemma: either reject KR and confront what Stewart Cohen calls “the Problem of Easy Knowledge” or embrace KR and deny that unreflective beings can possess knowledge. In order to avoid this dilemma, an epistemological theory must allow for knowledge on the part of unreflective beings without falling prey to the problem of easy knowledge. I argue (...)
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  23. Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology.Luca Fiorito, Scott Scheall & Carlos Eduardo Suprinyak (eds.) - 2018 - Emerald Publishing.
  24.  44
    Ignorance and Moral Judgment: Testing the Logical Priority of the Epistemic.Parker Crutchfield, Scott Scheall, Cristal Cardoso Sao Mateus, Hayley Dawn Brown & Mark Rzeszutek - forthcoming - Consciousness and Cognition.
    It has recently been argued that a person’s moral judgments (about both their own and others’ actions) are constrained by the nature and extent of their relevant ignorance and, thus, that such judgments are determined in the first instance by the person’s epistemic circumstances. It has been argued, in other words, that the epistemic is logically prior to other normative (e.g., ethical, prudential, pecuniary) considerations in human decision-making, that these other normative considerations figure in decision-making only after (logically and temporally) (...)
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