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Did Ayn Rand commit the fallacy of reification?

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Both statements, by Rand and Bins respectively, rely on an old brain model called 'bucket theory'. Sensational inputting go into a storage facility of the brain, thereby becoming 'perceptions' which are then processed by a faculty called 'cognition'.

Uh, I looked on SEP, and Google, and all I got for "bucket theory" is a blog post related to Popper, and a metaphor pertaining to positive psychology, while neither involve what you said. I don't know what you're saying, it's pretty standard science that inputs are taken in, processed, then made into what you perceive. If it's false... by what evidence?

 

Mentally blocked stimuli? Huh? If you mean that some stimuli are processed but fail to receive attention, that's fine, but there is no reason to suppose culture determines the brain being able to recognize inputs at all. "Consciously blocked" would make more sense

 

Heuristic vs thought alternative? Kahneman has no such special distinction. What you're after is the system 1 and system 2 distinction, which aren't about perception anyway.

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"System 1 and system 2" are fictitious constructs Kahneman designed in order to get his sloppy thinking readers to make category errors, with a special interest in generating a justification for paternalistic government.

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No, I think there is empirical evidence for it. Besides, it's the same distinction as Rand regarding conscious and subconscious. The paternalism you're thinking of is not what Kahneman is advocating based on a distinction he made (or you've misunderstood Kahneman). How information is presented is about prospect theory, and the two systems is a way it can occur - or as Rand would put it, you metaphorically program your subconscious. In any case, what BH offered is inaccurate. I see lots of mistaken cognitive psychology or ignorance of any discoveries, or ignoring of science at all by saying it's "not part of philosophy" when even Rand used some basic facts of cognitive psychology to induce her theory of concepts. Binswanger has made errors as far as I've seen, and just hand waving Kahnemen's ideas is a comparable error - and frankly, anti-science and empiricist in the negative sense.

 

Why so skeptical of abstraction?

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Louie said:

No, I think there is empirical evidence for it. Besides, it's the same distinction as Rand regarding conscious and subconscious. The paternalism you're thinking of is not what Kahneman is advocating based on a distinction he made (or you've misunderstood Kahneman). How information is presented is about prospect theory, and the two systems is a way it can occur - or as Rand would put it, you metaphorically program your subconscious. In any case, what BH offered is inaccurate. I see lots of mistaken cognitive psychology or ignorance of any discoveries, or ignoring of science at all by saying it's "not part of philosophy" when even Rand used some basic facts of cognitive psychology to induce her theory of concepts. Binswanger has made errors as far as I've seen, and just hand waving Kahnemen's ideas is a comparable error - and frankly, anti-science and empiricist in the negative sense.

With respect, the above is really cute way of saying, "I didn't read Kaneman's book!" or, "I have no idea what I'm talking about and assume you don't either".....

Kahneman said:

"System 1 and system 2 are so central to the story in this book that I must make it absolutely clear that they are fictitious characters."........

The concepts of the subconscious and the conscious already existed long before Kahneman and he himself says that "system 1" is only "often unconscious".

I agree that Ms. Rand used what can be called "cognitive psychology" sometimes and that is exactly my point about her mixing the special science claims with philosophy on certain points.

You don't seem to understand what the criteria is for something to be philosophical in nature.

Kahneman defined what he meant by the oxymoronic "libertarian Paternalism" in his book where he defined it as a position in which:

the government and other institutions are allowed to nudge people to make decisions that serve their long term interest

Thinking Fast and Thinking Slow

Edit: By the way I'm not ignoring science, I'm challenging the validity of the concepts some special scientist use to categorize their observations. (AKA Philosophical detection)

Edited by Plasmatic

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With respect, the above is really cute way of saying, "I didn't read Kaneman's book!" or, "I have no idea what I'm talking about and assume you don't either".....

I read the book - I don't think I misunderstood it.

 

It's ambiguous if he meant "these are not literally sections of the brain, these are abstractions" or "I totally made these up to tell a story". I'll go with the first one because there is good reason too think that there is a real difference between intuitive and deliberative thought from his own research. The point I'm making is there is too much skepticism about abstractions - it's really not radical to suppose there is a difference between deliberation (reasoning explicitly) and intuition in an abstract sense. This might be better for another thread. I never read Binswanger's book so I can't comment more on the OP.

 

Science informs philosophy, always has throughout history. A discovery doesn't reveal philosophical truths, but it isn't wrong to induce from a scientific discovery, then abstract details away to discover philosophical principles.

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Louie said:

It's ambiguous if he meant "these are not literally sections of the brain, these are abstractions" or "I totally made these up to tell a story". I'll go with the first one because there is good reason too think that there is a real difference between intuitive and deliberative thought from his own research. The point I'm making is there is too much skepticism about abstractions - it's really not radical to suppose there is a difference between deliberation (reasoning explicitly) and intuition in an abstract sense. This might be better for another thread. I never read Binswanger's book so I can't comment more on the OP.

What is ambiguous about "fictitious"?? I cant tell that you read the book but I'll take your word for it......

Anyway, Kaneman said:

there is no one part of the brain that

either of the systems would call home.

You may well ask: What is the point of

introducing fictitious characters with ugly

names into a serious book? The answer is

that the characters are useful because of

some quirks of our minds, yours and

mine. A sentence is understood more

easily if it describes what an agent

(System 2) does than if it describes what

something is, what properties it has

He explains in a video I watched that he is doing this to take advantage of certain "propensities" that turn out to be bad pschyo-epistemology employed by the majority of the folks in the world. We dont need a rediculous conception of "intuition" to explain that most folks have stored and automatized garbage as philosophy.

Science informs philosophy, always has throughout history. A discovery doesn't reveal philosophical truths, but it isn't wrong to induce from a scientific discovery, then abstract details away to discover philosophical principles.

Absolutely false. If any subject is not available ubiquitously to all men at any instant its not philosophy and no special observations will answer what is ubiquitous in any "informative" way.

Edit: incidentally in his book, while reading, I never once fail his silly little tests. I consistently do the opposite of what he claims is supposed to be how my "mind works"....

Editt: this has nothing to so with "skepticism" of abstractions as such, only unobjective, unjustifiable abstractions.

Edited by Plasmatic

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First, i'm afraid that my use of 'bucket theory' somewhat dates me (64). Back in the seventies, the perception/cognition issue was still viable, although cooled off a bit from the mid-fifties. The 'no's' had clearly won the day in research psy, but it was nevertheless still possible to argue for a discreet perception/cognition process. hence, the pejorative 'bucket'..

 

In any case, with or without the term, a discreet processing of 'perceptions' by cognition isn't how brain-things work. Among other serious problems, there's far too much legislating by said cognitive processes as to what gets into the bucket to begin with! So if thought, to a large degree, predetermines perception, it's prima facie absurd to speak of perception as anything but a heuristic.

 

Speaking of which....

 

Kahneman's work on the 'heuristic' as a mode of thought dates back into the seventies, too. As of late, it became system 1, as opposed to system 2. 

 

Heuristic is important because it won him the Nobel prize in Economics-- seven years prior to "Thinking, fast and slow". Why? well, if most of our economic decisions are based on 'rule of the thumb' judgment, and without serious thought, then Rational Expectations cannot exist. This means that Chicago School Economics is to real economics as astrology is to astronomy.

 

BH

Edited by bill harris

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Bill said:

 

 

In any case, with or without the term, a discreet processing of 'perceptions' by cognition isn't how brain-things work. Among other serious problems, there's far too much legislating by said cognitive processes as to what gets into the bucket to begin with! So if thought, to a large degree, predetermines perception, it's prima facie absurd to speak of perception as anything but a heuristic.

 

 Tell me, what did anyone researching this idea use as a basis, if not perception, to make this generalization? I could respond in kind by saying, "Its prima facie absurd to speak of perception as anything but the inexorable result of material causation"......But we still have gotten no closer to the debate over how one validates/justifies such assertions, which around here starts with stating the necessary validity of the senses.

Edited by Plasmatic

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The easiest explanation (and i'll be happy to expand tomorrow, after sleep) is that 'perception>>> cognition' is merely a 'Null Hypotheses' to begin with. 

 

In other words, no experimental data supports it. To say, moreover, that Bins and Rand support the hypotheses as a philosophical statement doesn't mean that it's less 'null' than any other hypotheses that remains untested....

 

BH

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Bill said: 

In other words, no experimental data supports it. To say, moreover, that Bins and Rand support the hypotheses as a philosophical statement doesn't mean that it's less 'null' than any other hypotheses that remains untested....

 

 

 

The premise that perception is automatic and infallible is not a hypothesis, as such, and I do not accept the premise that philosophical topics are the type of subject matter requiring experiment-testing. Besides, there is no such thing as experimental data that is not grasped via perception and perception is the only way to ground meaning and justification without infinite regress period. What we have is a failure to agree on what philosophy is and where it differs from the special sciences.

 

But if your "bucket theory" means something by "discreet" that I don't understand then that point may be a special science issue. I need more info.

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First of all, it's not my theory, 'bucket' or otherwise. I'm simply stating the fact that the perception>cognition theory of Rand and Bins has been subject to testing by research psychology at least since the 50's.

 

Although testing any theory makes it a 'hypotheses', it's always fair to say that to convert a philosophical statement into a hypotheses frequently streamlines the text beyond recognition. In other words, it's obviously true that there's far more to the Rand/Bins theory than what's being tested. This more-ness is what's called 'Epistemology', which I'll deal with later.

 

For now, suffice to say that optical illusions refute any realistic perception > cognition proposal. 'Discreet' in research lingo indicates 'one perception equals one (somewhat) universal response. In this regard, optical illusions are only 'illusional' in the majority of cases. hence, a double refutation.

 

BH

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First of all, it's not my theory, 'bucket' or otherwise. I'm simply stating the fact that the perception>cognition theory of Rand and Bins has been subject to testing by research psychology at least since the 50's.

I adamantly take the stance that Binswanger is not supporting Rand's theory. He thinks he is, but I've often seen statements he's made that are very different than Rand. I think you've also misunderstood Rand. She didn't suppose that there are sensations stored, then those sensations become perceptions as if that only means noticing sensations, which are then processed/analyzed by cognition. Binswanger supposes that though, but in different words. The inputs immediately are stored as perceptions, then processed by cognition. That is, inputs are thrown in a bucket, becoming perceptions, then things come out of the bucket. What Rand supposes is that perceptions are made of something, which is whatever the brain does when taking in all kinds of input and putting it together. That a perception is constructed is not anything wild, and what perceptual psychology investigates. Nor is it strange to think that cognitive processes are used to make a judgment about perception, which includes intuitive processes. All cognitive psychology distinguishes from perception from cognition. I felt it important to post just to convey that Binswanger's theory is not Rand's and is wrong (and if I'm wrong about Binswanger I've not been told how).

 

And Kahnemann's research only shows that people can use heuristics and probably should, but many people use bad heuristics that lead to illogical choices. That isn't about perception at all, so it's not important here.

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I adamantly take the stance that Binswanger is not supporting Rand's theory. He thinks he is, but I've often seen statements he's made that are very different than Rand. I think you've also misunderstood Rand. She didn't suppose that there are sensations stored, then those sensations become perceptions as if that only means noticing sensations, which are then processed/analyzed by cognition. Binswanger supposes that though, but in different words. The inputs immediately are stored as perceptions, then processed by cognition. That is, inputs are thrown in a bucket, becoming perceptions, then things come out of the bucket. What Rand supposes is that perceptions are made of something, which is whatever the brain does when taking in all kinds of input and putting it together. That a perception is constructed is not anything wild, and what perceptual psychology investigates. Nor is it strange to think that cognitive processes are used to make a judgment about perception, which includes intuitive processes. All cognitive psychology distinguishes from perception from cognition. I felt it important to post just to convey that Binswanger's theory is not Rand's and is wrong (and if I'm wrong about Binswanger I've not been told how).

 

And Kahnemann's research only shows that people can use heuristics and probably should, but many people use bad heuristics that lead to illogical choices. That isn't about perception at all, so it's not important here.

From what you've said, it seems as if Bins has at least made an effort to demonstrate how perceptive and congitive things work. This is a significant update on Rand who, by your description, failed to offer any 'nuts& bolts, so to speak..

 

Again, however, much of what the brain does is to repress sensory data; therefore, there is no perceptual 'given'.

 

Kahneman's heuristic offers  us the stark observation that much of what we call 'thought' really  isn't. Rather, it seems to be an instant reaction to sensory data that fails to get adequately processed by cognition, Hence, error.

 

BH

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There is nothing in Kahneman's book that you cant learn yourself via introspection. A summary if which could read:

Your subconscious is like a computer—more complex a computer than men can build—and its main function is the integration of your ideas. Who programs it? Your conscious mind. If you default, if you don’t reach any firm convictions, your subconscious is programmed by chance—and you deliver yourself into the power of ideas you do not know you have accepted. But one way or the other, your computer gives you print-outs, daily and hourly, in the form of emotions—which are lightning-like estimates of the things around you, calculated according to your values. If you programmed your computer by conscious thinking, you know the nature of your values and emotions. If you didn’t, you don’t.

Many people, particularly today, claim that man cannot live by logic alone, that there’s the emotional element of his nature to consider, and that they rely on the guidance of their emotions. Well, . . . the joke is on . . . them: man’s values and emotions are determined by his fundamental view of life. The ultimate programmer of his subconscious is philosophy—the science which, according to the emotionalists, is impotent to affect or penetrate the murky mysteries of their feelings.

The quality of a computer’s output is determined by the quality of its input. If your subconscious is programmed by chance, its output will have a corresponding character. You have probably heard the computer operators’ eloquent term “gigo”—which means: “Garbage in, garbage out.” The same formula applies to the relationship between a man’s thinking and his emotions.

A man who is run by emotions is like a man who is run by a computer whose print-outs he cannot read. He does not know whether its programming is true or false, right or wrong, whether it’s set to lead him to success or destruction, whether it serves his goals or those of some evil, unknowable power. He is blind on two fronts: blind to the world around him and to his own inner world, unable to grasp reality or his own motives, and he is in chronic terror of both. Emotions are not tools of cognition. The men who are not interested in philosophy need it most urgently: they are most helplessly in its power.

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Therefore, introspectively speaking, the entire Chicago School of Economics had always been speaking nonsense.

 

This, btw, actually was my view as a twenty year old student in Paris. Taking it from my hosts, only an American could believe such nonsense as 'Rational Expectations". Mere ideology

 

So when Kahneman's heuristic articles began to appear, I refused to translate them, saying, 'Why bother, everyone knows this anyway, intuitively speaking!"

 

Then, when he won the Nobel in Economics, I chortled in glee: "See, those dumbass vikings have just figured out what I knew thirty years ago"!

 

BH

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Let me rephrase: There is nothing in Kahneman's book that is factual that one can't learn via introspection.

On the whole economic rational agent model, Dr. Peikoff discusses in one of his lectures that he doesnt place economics in the same category as other sciences because of the volitional aspect. I think this was in the induction lectures. I have no problem with realizing that investing as though people will always choose rationally is a gamble, given that most of the world is not rational most of the time. But others have generalized this to "man is inherently irrational due to "system 1", so we need to use propaganda techniques to control mans choices for his own good"....

Edited by Plasmatic

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My take on 'Thinking, fast and slow' is that Kahneman wanted to make us aware of the pitfalls of 'shooting from the hip', 'go with the first thing' mentality that's propagated by so many amateur psychobabblers today.

 

As for the volitional aspect of economics, Keynes was the first, around 1920, to discuss probabalism. Prior, you had the general assumption of Say's Law which assumed a demand relative to supply. To this end, Keynes re-worked Marshall's 'S/D' formalism. 

 

In other words, it's one thing to say that you'll produce x quantity of widgets to soak up widget demand, quite another to say that you know what the demand for widgets really is. hence, 'risk'....

 

To loop back to Kahneman, part of his work is to have defined a certain set of risk takers, the rest of us being somewhat risk avoiders. 

 

BH

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BH: Are you conceding that the issue of economics comes down to simply a supply/demand alternative?

 

If I recognize a causal relationship that exists, am I really taking a risk to side with a causal aspect in order to recognize a gain an action that said cause is known to produce?

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From what you've said, it seems as if Bins has at least made an effort to demonstrate how perceptive and congitive things work. This is a significant update on Rand who, by your description, failed to offer any 'nuts& bolts, so to speak..

Perceptual as "given" is really just that it's there and not chosen. That isn't to say perception includes things like if you "perceive" two options differently. That isn't given, and nothing Rand said would suggest she included intuition in that. Although she would likely call it "emotion". No philosopher tries to offer "nuts and bolts" but they can and do identify what's there, introspection is not really the best to investigate cognition, all it can do is say that something occurred, or say how you deliberated. It's not possible to say how a heuristic is used by introspection. So yes, some things often called thought aren't thought in the sense of deliberation. Still, that isn't about perception, doesn't answer Rand, and fits well with what Rand did say. More Kahneman would need another thread!

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BH: Are you conceding that the issue of economics comes down to simply a supply/demand alternative?

 

If I recognize a causal relationship that exists, am I really taking a risk to side with a causal aspect in order to recognize a gain an action that said cause is known to produce?

No, Keynes' 1920 point (supported by Wittgenstein, Russell, Ramsay, and later Sraffa) was the supply/demand as given by Marshall was a tautology. 

 

The behavioral components, or nuts and bolts, were based in probability of outcome.

 

Keynes later, in General Theory. 1929 developed the probability of eventual loss into an explanation as to why slumps are persistent. There is no bounce -back upwards from the downwards portion of a cycle if you're broke. 

 

BH

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Perceptual as "given" is really just that it's there and not chosen. That isn't to say perception includes things like if you "perceive" two options differently. That isn't given, and nothing Rand said would suggest she included intuition in that. Although she would likely call it "emotion". No philosopher tries to offer "nuts and bolts" but they can and do identify what's there, introspection is not really the best to investigate cognition, all it can do is say that something occurred, or say how you deliberated. It's not possible to say how a heuristic is used by introspection. So yes, some things often called thought aren't thought in the sense of deliberation. Still, that isn't about perception, doesn't answer Rand, and fits well with what Rand did say. More Kahneman would need another thread!

To beg to differ a bit: lots of philosophers try to use neurosci 's nuts and bolts to justify their particular theory of consciousness. the best example is Daniel Dennett, who sounds more like a Biology lecture than anything else.

 

A thread on Kahneman would be interesting; here. however, i don't want to belabor the point that i was using his 'heuristic' as an example as to how perceptions aren't just collected and bundled into a thought, hence, 'concept'.

 

Half of Rand's epistemology concerns the relationship between words and things, while the other half is about the formation of concepts. Both halves require some sort of vindication within the realm of brain studies. 

 

To the extent that perceptions of objects are bundled, then converted into thoughts, words completely describe the object, just as Aristotle, then Rand, said. If, oth, our brain tells us to see 'fish' for whale' as in Jonah, the word/thing relationship takes on a critical dimension, as Russell and Wittgenstain said.

 

Likewise, our brain forms abstractions, or 'concepts' by forming a universal similarity between perceived objects. Our correct abstractions depend upon the correctness of our input which, again per Aristotle, is always correct. OTH, the observation of Hume was that the processing wasn't that automatic, and that different people may see different things because of pre-classification within the brain.

 

In other words, it seems as if Rand/Bins are trying to say that  her Epistemology must be true because their explanation of brain-work makes it so. 

 

yet a compromise has already been worked out by Kripke, dating back some 50 years. That Rand's epistemology resembles his theory of language has, in fact, been duly noted by Machan.

 

Kripke wrote that all the information we know of an object is encompassed in a word of its description. For example, if 'fish' also means 'sea mammal' to some cultures, then that's what it means because, after all, there's no ideal point of Aristotelian reference that demands we always get observations 'right'.

 

In contrast to Russell and Wittgenstein, Kripke says that a word completely describes the object, without condition. meanings do not slide form game to game...

 

Kripke, i hasten to add, used no reference to brain processes...

 

BH

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Perceptual as "given" is really just that it's there and not chosen. That isn't to say perception includes things like if you "perceive" two options differently. That isn't given, and nothing Rand said would suggest she included intuition in that. Although she would likely call it "emotion". No philosopher tries to offer "nuts and bolts" but they can and do identify what's there, introspection is not really the best to investigate cognition, all it can do is say that something occurred, or say how you deliberated. It's not possible to say how a heuristic is used by introspection. So yes, some things often called thought aren't thought in the sense of deliberation. Still, that isn't about perception, doesn't answer Rand, and fits well with what Rand did say. More Kahneman would need another thread!

To beg to differ a bit: lots of philosophers try to use neurosci 's nuts and bolts to justify their particular theory of consciousness. the best example is Daniel Dennett, who sounds more like a Biology lecture than anything else.

 

A thread on Kahneman would be interesting; here. however, i don't want to belabor the point that i was using his 'heuristic' as an example as to how perceptions aren't just collected and bundled into a thought, hence, 'concept'.

 

Half of Rand's epistemology concerns the relationship between words and things, while the other half is about the formation of concepts. Both halves require some sort of vindication within the realm of brain studies. 

 

To the extent that perceptions of objects are bundled, then converted into thoughts, words completely describe the object, just as Aristotle, then Rand, said. If, oth, our brain tells us to see 'fish' for whale' as in Jonah, the word/thing relationship takes on a critical dimension, as Russell and Wittgenstain said.

 

Likewise, our brain forms abstractions, or 'concepts' by forming a universal similarity between perceived objects. Our correct abstractions depend upon the correctness of our input which, again per Aristotle, is always correct. OTH, the observation of Hume was that the processing wasn't that automatic, and that different people may see different things because of pre-classification within the brain.

 

In other words, it seems as if Rand/Bins are trying to say that  her Epistemology must be true because their explanation of brain-work makes it so. 

 

yet a compromise has already been worked out by Kripke, dating back some 50 years. That Rand's epistemology resembles his theory of language has, in fact, been duly noted by Machan.

 

Kripke wrote that all the information we know of an object is encompassed in a word of its description. For example, if 'fish' also means 'sea mammal' to some cultures, then that's what it means because, after all, there's no ideal point of Aristotelian reference that demands we always get observations 'right'.

 

In contrast to Russell and Wittgenstein, Kripke says that a word completely describes the object, without condition. meanings do not slide form game to game...

 

Kripke, i hasten to add, used no reference to brain processes...

 

BH

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Kahneman

Keynes

Say

Marshall

Wittgenstein

Russell

Ramsay

Sraffa

Dennett

Kripke

Chicago School of Economics

Aristotle

 

What exactly is your point?

 

edit:  forgot Machan

Edited by New Buddha

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Kahneman

Keynes

Say

Marshall

Wittgenstein

Russell

Ramsay

Sraffa

Dennett

Kripke

Chicago School of Economics

Aristotle

 

What exactly is your point?

What's your point? These are all proper names...is Rand not worthy of mention?

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