I’m pretty sure most scientists pay no attention to Western philosophy’s successes or failures. That’s not to say the scientists are philistines, although some surely are. But philosophy doesn’t add much to Western society these days, so scientists and technocrats can satisfy their interest in art and culture without the need to read any current Western philosophy.

Do you really think scientists use philosophers as foils? When do scientists appeal to philosophy in any way? The only current connection between science and philosophy that I can see (besides philosophy’s dependence on science) is that scientists use the field of philosophical problems to pontificate, to pretend scientistically that since scientists have mastered the harder disciplines, they automatically know how to philosophize. It’s a question of overstepping their boundaries and of ignoring philosophers’ expertise.

You say the errors of neoclassical economics can be fixed. In the article I say likewise, but you seem to suggest they can be fixed by reinterpreting the meaning of neoclassical assumptions, not by replacing them. There’s a contradiction there, since if the assumptions are subjectively or contextually (de dicto) rather objectively true, they’re not “errors.”

The standard critique of neoclassical presumptions is that they don’t apply even subjectively to the average person. They apply only to sociopaths and to the neoclassical economist who imagines himself a superior thinker. Most people aren’t selfish maximizers of their utility or rational calculators of their private advantage. There’s no such beast as the Homo economicus.

The economic models are supposed to be idealizations that describe reality piecemeal, so the laws would be ceteris paribus. But you’d need experiments carried out in laboratories to test that, all things being equal or without interference from background conditions, certain nomic relations hold. Neoclassical economists don’t modify their assumptions to fit any data, though, let alone perform experiments to test that their idealizations are pragmatic rather than fraudulent and cultish.

The evidence—including the boom and bust cycles that show the market isn’t self-regulating but has to be repaired by government action; the economists’ use of unnecessary math to hide the unreality of their assumptions; and their ties to big business, in which case the libertarianism implicit in the neoclassical program is used as an excuse to prop up plutocracies—indicates the program was only ever a cult.

Saying you can “expand the system to include government intervention as a form of free-market collective bargaining” is like saying you can preserve neoclassical economics by calling the economic phenomena that conflict with its models “externalities.” Sweeping something under the rug isn’t the same as expanding a cognitive system. If the actions of a democratic government can be called part of a free market, neoclassical economics would be unfalsifiable, which again would be consistent with calling it a cult.

Collective bargaining gets you to socialism via cooperation and taxation—which is supposed to be the opposite of a self-regulating market. Markets run on economic transactions, whereas governments are political entities. Saying you can fix free market economics by adding “a little game theory” is like saying you can fix Creationism by adding a little science. To the extent that game theory shares the egoistic hyperrationalism of the neoclassical models, game theory won’t account for genuine political decision-making, but only for an Ayn Randian spin on politics.

Granted, when governments have been corrupted by consumerism and neoliberalism (the religions that stem from the cult), politicians are disproportionately sociopaths who do think in narrow, selfish terms. But that’s a case of the free-market model becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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