History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Economies, free agents and the antinomy of economic ‘laws’

December 1st, 2014 · No Comments

The question of the critique of economic models is very difficult given the math level of much of the work now. But there is a generalized way to ‘debunk’ economic claims if they are stated using differential equations: the factor of free agency makes those equations dead letters in advance, at least in principle, and in practice the whole game is totally at variance with the source ideas that spawned the original ideas: physics, where a differential resolves a dynamical problem exactly, except in the cases where, like in the three body problem, the material is too complex.

The idea of economic laws is thus false: we can ‘decide’ as free agents to ‘contradict’ those ‘laws/equations’ and construct a new economy as a matter of that free agency.

WHEE is based on a distinction of free agency and system action, and the result is a complex chronicle, not the solution to a dynamical equation.
One of the versions of this set of ideas, here from the Appendix to Last and First Men:

System Action, Free Action:
Determinism vs Creativity
Related to the issue of Kant’s Challenge is the issue of creative history, and we need to set a distinction, before embarking in the next chapter on a study of world history. The data of history is confusing unless we distinguish a causal factor from free agency, AND be sure to keep the two together, in tandem. We have evoked Kant’s Challenge, and we must distinguish historical dynamics from free will, since both are operating, and we can call this the distinction of a system and the free agents inside it. Think of a ship and its passengers: the action of the system, the ship, and the action of the passengers on board is a hybrid system of mechanics and free will. It is important to see that history is not determined: it shows many hybrid situations where behavior is partly determined and partly free in the creative action of individuals. This distinction of system and agents might seem confusing, but we already know all this: the simplest example of the many we encounter every day might be the ‘system action’ of a car, and the ‘free action’ of the driver. The point is that ‘history’ has a mind of its own, so to speak, and we are inside it operating with our agendas. But the two intersect. We need a looser version of the duality of causality and freedom: system action and free action. Free agency is not always ‘free will’. You can be a free agent in an earthquake, but not free to do much of anything while it happens!
Some analogs The simplest example here is that of a driver in a vehicle. The situation shows the tandem action of a causal machine and a free agent, with our without free will, in control of that machine. Another example is that of an ocean liner and its passengers. Still another is a computer with a mouse, a clear tandem situation of ‘system’ (computer) and ‘free agent’, user with mouse. DMR

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