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Attempts to throw some light on the sensible use of mathematics in economic theory. Argues that mathematics is a valuable and useful tool which economists should and must apply as long as its use is economically sensible. The dangers of going beyond the "frontier" of what is economically sensible occur when economists depart from the actual (empirical) subject matter because of the applied mathematical instruments, when the underlying value judgements are not, or only insufficiently, taken into consideration, when the recording and measurement of empirical magnitudes as an economic problem is underestimated or is even subordinate under the requirements of the formal language, and when the process of mathematization is considered as a substitute for the process of Verstehen. Concludes that although mathematical reasoning is one way of logical deduction, which secures a style of logical consistency in reasoning, it is a fallacy to believe that mathematical reasoning alone can secure logical, consistent reasoning. Mathematization for the sake of mathematization is useless.
Journal of Economic Studies – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 1, 2000
Keywords: Mathematics; Economics
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