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LSE PhD Student Session: Ko-Hung Kuan & Paul Daniell

20 March, 4:30 pm6:00 pm

Ko-Hung Kuan: “Beyond Linear Conciliation”

Abstract: Formal epistemologists criticise the Conciliatory View of peer disagreement for being non-commutative with the rule of conditionalisation and path dependent. The two formal deficiencies lead to several undesirable results, which urge people to abandon the Conciliatory View. In this talk, I will present the results in the study of opinion pooling and argue that the Conciliatory View can be saved by adopting the nonlinear averaging functions as rules for conciliation.

After showing how the conciliationists can get rid of the two deficiencies, I will explore the features of nonlinear averaging functions and argue that they have properties that correctly reflect some intuitions about disagreement. The conclusion, therefore, is to suggest epistemologists develop a more fine-grained taxonomy for cases of disagreement. With a deliberately made categorisation of kinds of disagreement, epistemologists can pick the proper averaging rule to apply in each specific cases and dissolve disagreements correctly.


Paul Daniell: “General Equilibrium and the Logic of Analogy”

Abstract: General equilibrium theory and its welfare theorems are often regarded as fundamental parts of neoclassical microeconomics. The theory asserts that under a set of axiomatic assumptions about competitive markets, one can prove an economy can achieve an efficient state of equilibrium, where there is full employment and no excess demand for goods. The theory further appears to assert that such an equilibrium can be achieved all without the assistance of a central planner or government. Hence, it is sometimes conceived of as mathematical evidence of Adam Smith’s invisible hand.

Some economists think general equilibrium theory provides genuine scientific explanations.  Other economists and philosophers have disputed the explanatory relevance of the theory, and this controversy has persisted for several decades.

I consider the question of what scheme of scientific explanation, if any, would be compatible with any purported explanation in g.e. theory. I start with a family of explanatory regimes which are principally deductivist: explanations are here construed as patterns of reasoning yielding a particular explanandum. I consider both deductive-nomological and inductive-statistical schemes but argue that they would be insufficient in accounting for such microeconomic explanations.  Instead, I sketch a new regime of explanation, which I call analogical-projective explanation based on the logic of analogy. I will further argue such an account of explanation helps makes sense of claims by other philosophers of economics like Allan Gibbard, Hal Varian, and Robert Sugden that theoretical economics makes use of analogical objects like caricatures or fictions.


20 March
4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
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LAK 2.06
Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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