Economists Noah Smith (“A few words about math”) and Bryan Caplan (“Economath fails the cost benefit test”) have recently presented powerful and persuasive critiques of the over-use of mathematics in economics, but prior probability thinks they both miss the larger question, i.e., is economics a science? In addition to the points made by Smith and Caplan, we think that many economists use fancy mathematical symbols in order to create the false impression that their discipline is a science when, in fact, it is not (it is mostly a branch of moral philosophy dressed up in the language of mathematics). What do you think?
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