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Theoretical and Applied Economics
No. 9 / 2011 (562)

Novum Organum Oeconomicum

„In order to generate science, the collection of observations, valuable to the critical moment of intervention in a particular case, must prove its validity not in an ontologically defined system, but in an epistemological one.”

Reductionism was so faultily installed in the conceptualization of Economics that it has started to obscure the greater picture. The evaluations of the states of rationality mostly take into account the intra-conditionings of the part to the detriment of the inter- and supra-conditionings regarding the whole. In Economics' recent manner of configuring its concepts, the context which includes meanings and irradiates solutions has been substituted by the structure of the contingent and useful element.

Thus, excessively rationalized, the understanding of things was closed within the exclusive hypothesis and the explanation was limited to the immediate and sufficient functional. The over-segmented perspective and the spurious instrumentalisation have created the basis for the deductive certification of unique solutions. The drawing of epistemic borders has followed the principle of the homogeneity of means in reaching measurable goals, behaviors being approached in a normative-technological manner. The preference for empirism and econometrics has thus found, in turn, its comfort. The qualitative analysis, the theoretical horizon and the conjugation of methods in the founding of explicative models of reality -though complex, dynamic and integral - have all been sent to the periphery.

In fact we cannot talk of a normal conformation of Economics to the Baconian pattern of scientific knowledge. The decantation of concepts through experimentation traces an eminently indirect path in Economics. In a particular way, Economics - like all sciences of the humane -practices the theoretical exercise, building it hypothetically and counterfactual, with the experimentation of the hypothesis not being a de facto direct actional form. If this is the fundamental distinctiveness of Economics as a science, it means that the integral and integrative theoretical vision is inevitable, while the method is flexible.

Equally, the special epistemic condition of Economics can be distinguished only if the propensity for assimilating practical experience - as a laboratory for producing economic science - is correctly interpreted. The logic of the system for the promotion of economic research, being overly attached to empiricism, could be the source for the mixing of the planes of perception. The indistinct understanding of the research levels - one centered on the study of theoretical experience and the other focused on the practical experience - is favored by the growing demand for management consulting. In the first case the creation of the conceptualization is made a priori, while in the second case deduction is being used, reducing reality to the abstract. One highway line of cognition is frequented by the sophisticated logic of scientific research while the other facilitates the transport of fuel for the motor of economic action.

The two highway lines run in parallel, their direction being opposite and logically consistent: one way from idea towards idea and the other way from facts towards facts. The analogy with the physical form of a two-way highway does not help us really understand the type of movement, because forward and backward for instance, as indicators of sense in the circulation of knowledge, exist here for both directions. Meaning that the backwards-forwards movement takes place on the direction of ideas while the same motion occurs in the realm of facts. It is a sort of coming and going of the meanings of creation and recreation from an idea, or group of ideas, to another idea or group of ideas - a transfer of mutually validated connotations having a cognitive added value as a result.

In the actional plane the transfer of meanings has, on the one hand, the consistency of a good practice with a potential resonance in the plane of ideas and, on the other hand, a randamental finality, reopening the back-and-forth balancing motion in the plane of practical experience. An autonomy of movement is being configured in the two planes due to the differing substantiation, and due to the finality of the movement as well: explicative models in the case of ideas and efficiency of action in the case of facts.

What we have here is an insufficiently deciphered dialectic through which the paths of communication between theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge are entwined. The unclear part is the manner in which the transaction of connotations takes place and, especially, the way in which the fusion of the cognitive values between the two highways takes place. It is probable that the suggestions of the logic of the third state (T-state) may help us see the highways of theoretical and practical knowledge in Economics as lanes of the same highway. Frankly, here is where we find the sources for the blockage of cognitive cooperation and they have the consistency of professional sufficiency.

The preference for expertise-type studies is a natural fact for a performance economy, but in time it proves its limitations when it tries to substitute the process of scientific research. It is as if a surgeon would pretend that files containing the observations on an operated organ could replace fundamental knowledge in medical science. In order to generate science, the collection of observations, valuable to the critical moment of intervention in a particular case, must prove its validity not in an ontologically defined system, but in an epistemological one. The insertion in scientific discourse is a problem solved by coherence within the main conceptual body. This test is itself preliminary to a testing of the epistemic consistency by which the area of relevance is drawn and cognitive potential is certified.

The differential between the two levels of economic cognition pertains to the fact that science colonizes the world of ideas, while expertise habits the world of facts. The conceptual horizon of the scientific type of research approach has the relevant idea as a unit of measure in the reproduction of generic ideas, while the expertise type of studies are interested in advancing concrete solutions, specific to problems of conjuncture, of political economics.

Complementarity mustn't be a way of mixing up referential plans and also not an option for the substitution of perspectives. Complementarity signifies the circular essence of knowledge, in which the principle of univocal causality is relativized in the actional space of the determinist chaos which structures theoretical experience and practical experience, ideas and facts.

The preparation for epistemological fragmentation arrived in Economics by way of making academic disciplines autonomous and of the tunneling of specialized education. The sociological consequence was double-sided: the micro-dimensioning of competence and the installing of autism in the community of economists. The vehicle of scientific communication has been damaged, and the transfer of knowledge has been linearized. The cognitive transfer took place between the adjacent methodologies interested in short-term yield. The objective-function of synthesis was at most activated in the actional space circumscribed to the making of the current decision. The coherence of the temporal three-dimensionality of evolutions was a random fact.

The image of a cog in the machine located beyond the cognitive border is the best illustration for the state of Economics. Punctiform knowledge, the assumption of self-regulated scientificity and the expertise-type studies have become reproductive, dislocating the established research practices, especially those of a fundamental nature. What is left of Economics, as a matrix for the conceptual meanings of the integral state of rationality - certifiable as an inter-subjective transaction of utility, is the escape into the instrumentation borne by pragmatism.

The bad part is that, under the pressure for the presentation of current policies, it cannot avoid falling into ideology.


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Novum Organum Oeconomicum
Marin Dinu

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The Economicity. The Epistemic Landscape, Marin Dinu, 2016

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