Saturday , February 4 2023 Home / Lars P. Syll / The dangers of using unproved assumptions

# The dangers of using unproved assumptions by
Lars Pålsson Syll
My articles My siteAbout meMy booksMy videos
Summary:
The dangers of using unproved assumptions The unpopularity of the principle of organic unities shows very clearly how great is the danger of the assumption of unproved additive formulas. The fallacy, of which ignorance of organic unity is a particular instance, may perhaps be mathematically represented thus: suppose f(x) is the goodness of x and f(y) is the goodness of y. It is then assumed that the goodness of x and y together is f(x) + f(y) when it is clearly f(x + y) and only in special cases will it be true that f(x + y) = f(x) + f(y). It is plain that it is never legitimate to assume this property in the case of any given function without proof. J. M. Keynes “Ethics in Relation to Conduct” (1903) Since econometrics doesn’t content itself with only

Topics:
Lars Pålsson Syll considers the following as important:

This could be interesting, too:

Lars Pålsson Syll writes On gender and alcohol

Lars Pålsson Syll writes Causal inferences — what Big Data cannot give us

Lars Pålsson Syll writes The 25 Best Econometrics Blogs

Lars Pålsson Syll writes Econometric testing

## The dangers of using unproved assumptions The unpopularity of the principle of organic unities shows very clearly how great is the danger of the assumption of unproved additive formulas. The fallacy, of which ignorance of organic unity is a particular instance, may perhaps be mathematically represented thus: suppose f(x) is the goodness of x and f(y) is the goodness of y. It is then assumed that the goodness of x and y together is f(x) + f(y) when it is clearly f(x + y) and only in special cases will it be true that f(x + y) = f(x) + f(y). It is plain that it is never legitimate to assume this property in the case of any given function without proof.

J. M. Keynes “Ethics in Relation to Conduct” (1903)

Since econometrics doesn’t content itself with only making optimal predictions, but also aspires to explain things in terms of causes and effects, econometricians need loads of assumptions — the most important of these are additivity and linearity. Important, simply because if they are not true, your model is invalid and descriptively incorrect. It’s like calling your house a bicycle. No matter how you try, it won’t move you an inch. When the model is wrong — well, then it’s wrong. Professor at Malmö University. Primary research interest - the philosophy, history and methodology of economics.