Mathematics, metaphor and economic visualisability

Phillips, Peter J. (2007) Mathematics, metaphor and economic visualisability. Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, 10 (4). pp. 281-299. ISSN 1098-3708


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The mathematisation of economic theory is an issue that has been discussed many times. These discussions have been dominated by debate about the appropriateness of the deductive method for economics. This rather narrow focus has pushed a number of important methodological issues regarding the nature of mathematical economics aside. In this paper, it is argued that mathematical economics involves the construction of metaphor and is therefore metaphorical in nature. Whilst mathematical economics has been responsible for what are generally regarded to be notable theoretical achievements and retains a place in economics as an apparatus for the development of economic science, the meaning of mathematical economics is restricted to those elements of economic reality that may be talked about in terms of mathematical objects and there is a danger of declining economic visualisability as the metaphors of mathematical economics become less vivid.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Business - School of Accounting, Economics and Finance
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2008 01:27
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 22:57
Uncontrolled Keywords: mathematical economics; metaphors; economic visualisability;
Fields of Research : 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2004 Linguistics > 200405 Language in Culture and Society (Sociolinguistics)
14 Economics > 1401 Economic Theory > 140103 Mathematical Economics
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1007/s12113-007-9024-0

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