Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on April 19, 2012

in Data, Economics, Science, Scientism

… is a follow-on from yesterday’s Quotation; it’s from pages 135-136 of Morris Cohen’s 1944 A Preface to Logic:

Economic statistics, chart of the variations of prices, incomes, imports and exports, etc., do not constitute science unless organized, controlled and informed by some general idea.  A collection of data will not give us science any more than a collection of ores will give us metal works.  We need fire to fuse our material into some pattern.  In science we achieve that, if we discover the proper perspective from which the order of phenomena becomes visible to the trained eye.

(BTW, Cafe patron Bob Sykes sent the following thought to me after he read yesterday’s Quotation: “I think Cohen doesn’t go quite far enough. Hypotheses define what constitutes a fact; there are no facts without hypotheses.”)

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