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The Rhetoric of Economics par [McCloskey, Deirdre N.]
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The Rhetoric of Economics 2 , Format Kindle

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Présentation de l'éditeur

A classic in its field, this pathbreaking book humanized the scientific rhetoric of economics to reveal its literary soul. Economics needs to admit that it, like other sciences, works with metaphors and stories. Its most mathematical and statistical moments are properly dominated by comparison and narration, that is to say, human persuasion. The book was McCloskey's opening move in the development of a "humanomics," and unification of the sciences and the humanities on the field of ordinary business life.

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  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 3010 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 248 pages
  • Editeur : University of Wisconsin Press; Édition : 2 (15 mai 1998)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B0047BJ1OE
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) (Peut contenir des commentaires issus du programme Early Reviewer Rewards) 3.4 étoiles sur 5 11 commentaires
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Great Perspective 3 juillet 2017
Par Edward J. Barton - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Taking us through the self absorbed rhetoric of the modernist economist - quantitative but meaningless - the author looks at the history of economic writing and encourages the readers to espouse a meaningful rhetoric in their approach. Not an easy read, or particularly engaging, the book does have some humor, and the perspective is welcome. A must read for the economist or economic scholar.
1 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Should be required reading for all graduate students in economics 9 février 2014
Par Marc Bilodeau - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Prof. McCloskey is such an engaging and interesting writer. In this book, she succeeds in making the reader think and reconsider their writing habits. I am a professor of economics and I strongly recommend this book to my students. I think it ought to be required reading for all economics graduate students and anyone who wants to write about the economy.
13 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Some good points with scope for improvement 28 mai 2011
Par Rafe Champion - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Deirdre McCloskey is a passionate advocate of rhetoric in economics as opposed to "big M" Methodology. She likes to project the image of a "tough New York broad" and the result is a style that obscures her message which is that we need to lift our game in critical arguments (which she calls rhetoric) instead of being over-awed by defective statistical analysis and especially by the ruling fashions in the positivist philosophy and methodology of science.

One of the best sources to support that case is Karl Popper but you would never know that from reading this book.

"I started again to read philosophy of science (I had stopped in graduate school, just short of the Karl Popper level). More important, around 1980 I came upon history and sociology of science that challenged the reigning philosophy. Scientists, these crazy radicals claimed, were not the macho saints that Popper said they were." (xi)

Popper was fairly aware of the human frailty to scientists and in chapter 23 of The Open Society and its Enemies he wrote:

"Everyone who has an inkling of the history of the natural sciences is aware of the passionate tenacity which characterizes many of its quarrels. No amount of political partiality can influence political theories more strongly than the partiality shown by some natural scientists in favour of their intellectual offspring..."

To round out Popper's point, whatever objectivity science enjoys does not come from the "objectivity" of individual scientists but from the quality of the discussion (rhetoric) in the profession. This is probably the point that McClosky was making.

In a critical section on modernism (essentially the positivism of the Vienna Circle and the logical empiricists who followed them) she "The logical positivists of the 1920s scorned what they called `metaphysics'. From the beginning, though the scorn has refuted itself. If metaphysics is to be cast into the flames, then the methodological declarations of the modernist family from Descartes through Hume and Comte to Russell, Hempel and Popper will be the first to go." (147)

However Popper was talking about the uses and the value of metaphysical theories in print since the mid 1950s and in lectures since the 1940s although it took a long time (until 1982) for the world o see the Metaphysical Epilogue to the third volume of Popper's "Postscript to the LSD".

Pressing on with the critique of modernism she wrote "The intolerance of modernism shows in Popper's The Open Society and its Enemies (1945) which firmly closed the borders of his open society to psychoanalysts and Marxists - charged with violating all manner of modernist regulations." (158)

I don't recall Popper writing very much about psychoanalysis in the OSE and his main target was not Freud or Marx themselves but people who refused to contemplate any criticism of the master. That does not close the borders to psychoanalysis because Popper considered that there was probably a lot of truth in Freud's ideas if only they were developed under the control of various forms of criticism.

The same applies to Marxism. Popper reacted against doctrinaire and fadist Marxism in the same way that he reacted against doctrines and intellectual fads of all kinds. Of course he regarded Marxism as much more than a fad and so he devoted several hundred pages of analysis to bring out the strong and weak points of it. It would be good to have some searching criticism of Popper's treatment of Marx from an economist with the track record of McCloskey!

These carping comments do not detract from the positive core of the book.
14 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 The Deirdre is in the Details 14 décembre 2004
Par Omer Belsky - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Deirdre McCloskey hangs out with the "wrong" crowd. She is immersed in the work of a varied group of thinkers, the likes of Paul Feyerabend, Stanley Fish and Richard Rorty - collectively often referred to as Postmodernists, although Deidre McCloskey refers to the "movement" as "Anti-Modernism" (p. 183). The common thread that unites all these thinkers is opposition to rationality - or is it to science? Or maybe just a skepticism about naïve-modernism?

Because McCloskey is an economist (and a brilliant and eccentric writer), she's not prone to adopt the radicalism of Postmodernism - her take on those ideas is opposition to naïve Modernism, but without repudiating either science, rationalism or empiricism.

Basically, McCloskey attacks Modernism, or Positivism, a simplistic view of the world according to which science is a unique channel to truth, one in which things are "proven" rather then argued, in which, if you can't count it you don't know it, where mathematics is god and a mere argument - one not backed by "the facts" - is worthless, "mere" rhetoric. McCloskey offers "Ten Commandments of Modernism" in science (pp. 143-144), including such dictates as "Prediction and control is the point of science" (the first commandment), and "Only the observable implications (or predictions) of a theory matter to its truth" (the second commandment).

My problem is, I doubt anyone has ever been a "naïve Modernist" in McCloskey's sense. I only believe in two of McCloskey's commandments, and even those with misgivings. The strongest opponents of the Postmodernists, scientists like Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, historians like Richard Evans, philosophers like Daniel Dennett - certainly are no naïve Modernists. Even according to McCloskey herself, Milton Friedman's essay "The Methodology of Positive Economics", despite being "the central document of modernism in economics" (McCloskey's phrase), is "more postmodernist than you might suppose", and even Karl Popper is a "transitional figure"(pp. 144-145). So what's all the fuss about? Who is McCloskey after? When it comes to an example, McCloskey parades a research paper (by economists Richard Roll and Stephen Ross), stating:

"One should not reject the conclusions derived from firm profit maximization on the basis of sample surveys in which managers claim that they trade off profits for social good" (quoted on p. 146)

Is that so unreasonable?

Compare McCloskey's three chapters against methodology and for rhetoric with chapter four of 'Intellectual Impostures' by the bete noir of Postmodernists, Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont. Their prose and argument is more lucid; the ideas are very similar. And as a critic of Modernist prose and scientism (and McCloskey's charge about those point is substantial), it is strange that she marshals with apparent approval the writing of someone like Stanley Fish, who writes: 'All utterances are... produced and understood within the assumption of some socially conceived and understood dimension of assessment... all facts are discourse specific... and therefore no one can claim for any language a special relationship to the facts as they "simple are".' (Quoted on p.108).

If the central argument of McCloskey's book is not all that surprising, the book is nonetheless worth reading for McCloskey's almost incidental insights. Her attack on the insignificance of statistical significance (chapter 8), is more developed here than in her "Secret Sins of Economics", and it is rather disturbing that so many economists have fallen into the trap of thinking that an arbitrary statistical test necessarily has real life meanings (chapter 8). Her discussion of the justifications for the existence of a downward sloping demand curve must make anyone interested in economics think twice: "Some economists have tried to subject the law to a few experimental tests" she writes "After a good deal of throat-clearing they have found it to be true for clearheaded rats and false for confused humans" (p. 25).

McCloskey's insight into and analysis of actual rhetoric is also fun, for example, on a classic paper by Ronald Coase:

"When claiming the ethos of the Scientist the young Coase was especially fond of "tend to", the phrase becoming virtual anaphora on p. 46 (Coase 1937), repeated in all six of the complete sentences on the page and once in the footnotes. (p. 89)

McCloskey also does some popularization of economics, almost in the matter of course. She makes the ideas of economists comprehensible for neophytes like me; Her summery of Robert Fogel's thesis about American railroad is masterly, and she actually translates the main points of a breakthrough article by John Muth from economistic into English (pp. 54-58).

McCloskey does all these things as after thoughts - but it's there that her genius really comes through.
4 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Deirdre is correct about the misuse of significance levels 22 juin 2005
Par Michael Emmett Brady - Publié sur
Format: Broché
McCloskey's book deserves to be read because of the original material in her book dealing with the misuse,misapplication and misinterpretation of both statistical significance and economic significance(see pp.112-138,189)in the vast majority of articles published in economics journals, that used statistical and econometric analysis,in the time period from 1935-2005.She was the researcher who was the first to point out ,in a detailed manner ,the massive amount of errors that were being published in economics articles.Unfortunately,she makes the generalization,based on this particular body of work,that all economic analysis essentially involves researchers who base their policy analysis(the rhetoric of economics)on the misuse of mathematical,logical,and statistical procedures chosen,used,and interpreted specifically to support the a priori beliefs of the researcher.Thus,all economics is basically rhetoric,with particular techniques chosen with the aim being, not scientific discovery but, persuasion.She particularly dislikes the theoretical perspective of Paul Samuelson.It is easy to give a counter example.On p.262 of chapter 19 of the General Theory(1936),Keynes gives his major result-the absence of involuntary unemployment requires that the mpc(marginal propensity to consume)=1.If the capital stock is not at an optimal level,then this condition becomes mpc+mpi=1(where mpi equals the marginal propensity to invest).In the appendix to chapter 19,Keynes points out that this equation is missing from the macroscopic analysis provided by A C Pigou in his 1933 book,The Theory of Unemployment.Keynes then derives the following optimality condition for both the labor market and the output market in chapter 20 and again in chapter 21.That condition is that w/p=mpl/(mpc+mpi),where w is the money wage,p is the price level,and mpl is the marginal product of labor in the aggregate derived from an aggregate neoclassical production function(GT,P.283;footnotes 1 and 2).It is obvious that the classical and neoclassical theories can only hold in the special case of mpc+mpi=1.Keynes's GT thus generalizes the classical and neoclassical theories.Unless mpc+mpi=1,involuntary unemployment will exist and it will be impossible for labor,in the aggregate,to reduce the unemployment rate by cutting their money wages.There is no rhetoric and/or attempt at persuasion going on here.There is only the pure force of a logical and mathematical exposition that is based on the microeconomic foundations of purely competitive firms and industries.
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