October 12, 2015

Knowledge only — no opinion

Comment on Diane Coyle on ‘How to be a good economist’


Your answer in the post of 12 October: “Well that’s all a matter of opinion.” It is pretty obvious that you never got the salient point of science, which is to get out of the anything-goes-opinion-wish-wash.

“There are always many different opinions and conventions concerning any one problem or subject-matter... This shows that they are not all true. For if they conflict, then at best only one of them can be true. Thus it appears that Parmenides ... was the first to distinguish clearly between truth or reality on the one hand, and convention or conventional opinion (hearsay, plausible myth) on the other ...” (Popper, 1994, pp. 39-40)

For more than 2700 years it is known that science is about knowledge and that politics is about opinion/belief/second-guessing/filibustering. In sum: the bad economist cranks out opinions, and the good economist contributes to knowledge.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

Popper, K. R. (1994). The Myth of the Framework. In Defence of Science and Rationality. London, New York: Routledge.

Preceding How to be a good scientist and Time to make economics a science.