Thomas Sargent disbelieving his own methodology

20 Oct, 2011 at 21:33 | Posted in Theory of Science & Methodology | Comments Off on Thomas Sargent disbelieving his own methodology

In Arjo Klamer’s The New Classical Macroeconomics (1984, p 79) Sargent answers a couple of Klamer’s questions in a rather surprising way:

People say that many of your assumptions are unrealistic.

It is true that these assumptions are unrealistic.

Do you feel comfortable with them?

Yes, about certain matters. I’m aware of all the problems with them. There are philosophical contradictions about using this methodoology. Deep down I don’t believe in them, but I don’t have a better method of understanding what’s going on out there.

But if the best is not good enough? Wittgenstein’s dictum in Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus comes to mind:

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen.

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