This talk by CSO International Advisory Board member Tony Lawson was given as part of a seminar entitled ‘Confronting mathematical modelling in economics’, which took place on 26th March 2014. This seminar was part of the Bloomsbury Confrontations seminar series organised by Better Economics UCLU:

2 thoughts on “Tony Lawson on mathematical modelling”

Although I may be unfaithful, I am a follower of social ontology as articulated by Margaret Archer. I am also, to some degree, a mathematician but not an economist. While I agree with your criticism of the closed-world ontology presupposed by many economists (and others), the examples you give seem to be better suited to the advice that mathematical modelling should not be based on a closed-world ontology. I see no necessity for doing so and make a crude, dated, effort to do so in the following paper:

For a systematic rendering of mathematics with a closed-world ontology, consider the book Mathematical Sociology by Thomas J. Fararo who is also a critic of correlational models and the model of causality that undergirds them. Best wishes to Tony as he rattles the cage of his colleagues and perhaps persuades a younger generation of the openness of the real socio-economic world.

Although I may be unfaithful, I am a follower of social ontology as articulated by Margaret Archer. I am also, to some degree, a mathematician but not an economist. While I agree with your criticism of the closed-world ontology presupposed by many economists (and others), the examples you give seem to be better suited to the advice that mathematical modelling should not be based on a closed-world ontology. I see no necessity for doing so and make a crude, dated, effort to do so in the following paper:

http://www.psy.cmu.edu/edbag/wilson.pdf

For a systematic rendering of mathematics with a closed-world ontology, consider the book Mathematical Sociology by Thomas J. Fararo who is also a critic of correlational models and the model of causality that undergirds them. Best wishes to Tony as he rattles the cage of his colleagues and perhaps persuades a younger generation of the openness of the real socio-economic world.

Whoops! CORRECTIONS NEEDED. INSERT THE FOLLOWING:

“I see no need to avoid

mathematics, just closed-world mathematics, and make a crude, dated, effort to do so in the following paper:”“For a systematic rendering of mathematics

without,/em> a closed-world ontology, consider the book Mathematical Sociology by Thomas J. Fararo”