Page 7 - MODES of EXPLANATION

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in narrative accounts brings together our linguistic capacities to interweave surmise with surety
and to wed enigma to explanation, so that fictional and factual modes of narrative blend and
psychologically support each other rather than remain unconnected in separate silos. Narrative as
a generic form functions across cultures as both the base and instrument of theory, where “theory”
in its core sense is conceived of as an “abstract” answer to questions about the phenomenological
world.
Chapter 13 -- Economic Explanations
Paul Thagard
Contemporary economic theory is plagued by a variety of important failures. Not only has it proved
incapable of predicting various market crashes; it assumes that consumers are both rational and
informed. In light of these problems, Thagard offers a reconceptualization of the underpinning of
economic theory. Psychological research has done more than demonstrate that consumers are
neither rational nor informed. We now have a good idea of the psychological mechanisms that are
responsible for lapses in consumer rationality. Thagard argues that the model of the consumer
should include these mechanisms. Thagard further considers a variety of sociological mechanisms
that can influence individual behavior. Rather than treating the individual consumer atomistically,
Thagard argues that economic theory should be founded on the model of a consumer
contextualized within a society. The resulting sketch of an economic theory is a radical departure
from the economic theories accepted today.
Chapter 14
--
Narratives and Models in Complex Systems
Timothy F.H. Allen, Edmond Ramly, Samantha Paulsen, Gregori Kanatzidis, and Nathan
Miller
Humans often deal with the world through narratives. Mechanistic scientists do not necessarily
recognize when they are using narratives, and some might imagine narratives as non-scientific.
The thesis in this chapter is that narratives are in fact the deliverable in science, and that models
are a means of improving the quality of that bottom line. We wish to tighten up standards by getting
a clear view of narrative and modeling. Realism come from the way it encourages slovenly
thinking and careless analysis, which muddles the discourse. Narratives are problematic for
modernist realists in science because there is no obvious way for a narrative to be tied to reality in
any straightforward manner. In the end the bottom line in science is narrative. Models play their
role in improving narratives. Science is not about truth, but is about finding which lies we can
agree to get away with.
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