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The importance of ‘causal spread’

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The importance of ‘causal spread’ No doubt exists that an entirely different subject has taken over control when it comes to education in scientific methodology in almost the entire field, namely statistics … The value of the statistical regulatory system should of course not be questioned, but it should not be forgotten that other forms of reflection are also cultivated in the land of science. No single subject can claim hegemony… John Maynard Keynes … points to something that can be called ‘causal spread.’ To gain knowledge of humanity, the young person needs to encounter people of various kinds. Variation is equally important in all areas of knowledge formation — encountering diversity is enlightening. This seems entirely obvious, but the viewpoint

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The importance of ‘causal spread’

The importance of ‘causal spread’No doubt exists that an entirely different subject has taken over control when it comes to education in scientific methodology in almost the entire field, namely statistics … The value of the statistical regulatory system should of course not be questioned, but it should not be forgotten that other forms of reflection are also cultivated in the land of science. No single subject can claim hegemony…

John Maynard Keynes … points to something that can be called ‘causal spread.’ To gain knowledge of humanity, the young person needs to encounter people of various kinds. Variation is equally important in all areas of knowledge formation — encountering diversity is enlightening.

This seems entirely obvious, but the viewpoint has hardly been admitted into a textbook on statistics. There, qualitative richness does not apply, only the quantitative. Keynes, on the other hand, unabashedly states that the number of cases examined is of little importance … Those assessing credibility may perhaps look at the probability figure as decisive. But sometimes the figure lacks a solid foundation, and then it is not worth much. When the assessor gets hold of additional material, conclusions may be turned upside down. The risk of this must also be taken into account.

Sören Halldén

When yours truly studied philosophy and mathematical logic in Lund in the 1980s, Sören Halldén was a great source of inspiration. He still is.

Lars Pålsson Syll
Professor at Malmö University. Primary research interest - the philosophy, history and methodology of economics.

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