We reify the model, and misunderstand the world.People need to understand that this is exactly the *same* insight that dawned upon Ludwig Wittgenstein — mental constructs made of “given givens” which are given to one mind fail to capture the imperfect networks of imperfectly coordinated common patterns of orienting our self in the world via language — and these ‘given given’ entities mislead us about the source of significance or meaning — we go looking for significance in ‘given given’ entities, eg Plato’s essences, Russell’s logical atoms, Frege’s senses, Kripke’s direct references, Lewis’s possible world entities.When we reify the mental construct we’ve built of ‘language’ using logic and meaning entities, we misunderstand the real world of the social phenomena of language.In the economic case, we lose sight of networks of price relations in the world as found social tools already existing in the world for orienting our doings in coordination with other people. Social tools which aren’t always perfect and don’t always guarantee perfect coordination.In the language case, we lose sight of networks of shared practices of going on in the world involving speech and written words as found social tools already existing in the world for orienting our doings in coordination with other people. Social tools with aren’t always perfect and don’t always guarantee perfect coordination.Prices and language are external social network realities with an existence and reality far beyond the closed system of any single individual’s formal mental model of the price system or the language system made of of ‘given givens’ or stipulated ‘meanings’ and their formal relations.The lesson of Mises’ socialist calculation argument and Wittgenstein’s private language argument is that we can’t recreate this social thing that lies outside us in a fully surveyed formal system of “givens”, we can’t recreate it and we can’t replace it, what we do is make use of it coordination our social doings within this larger *socially* given network of relations, which we don’t receive as ‘given given’ entities like a hat in a box, but as networks of significance we are constantly orienting ourselves within and internalizing, in the first instance without any real explicit articulated fixed rules of going on together in a coordinated way. We acquire usefully and commonly coordinated practices via imitation, trial and error, training, absorbing the culture, practice, getting advice from others, etc.
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Quote of the Day: When We Reify the Model, We Misunderstand the World
This is from Greg Ransom of the Hayek Center