Response to Koppl
After my recent re-post of Tyler Cowen's comments concerning Hayek's The Sensory Order, Roger Koppl posted a reply and sent along his recent paper "Some epistemological implications of economic complexity," forthcoming in JEBO.
The implication and general thrust of his paper is one I most certainly agree with - economic complexity does NOT eliminate literary methods from economic science. Such runs parallel to mine and Pete's (2010) claim, "[t]o us, we can learn as much if not more in terms of illuminating exercises from explorations in history, anthropology, ethnography, and even literature (p.376),"
Where we differ from Koppl is in arriving at the conclusions that literary exercises well inform economic analysis. Koppl argues that the value of literary methods is supported by the insights of Hayek's neuroscience understood within the context of complexity theory. The economy is complex, the mind is also complex. Many complex minds within a complex economy makes for some sort of super complexity. Maybe I'm missing something, and I am not trying to be anti-intellectual, but my first reaction to these sorts of arguments is that complexity theorists make things too complicated - go figure.
In short, I suppose I agree with Roger that complexity theory in conjunction with neuroscience implies that most formalized models of economic behavior are unsolvable in objective terms but may have meaning to many actors in subjective terms. My only confusion and or complain is what Hayek's theory of neuorscience is really adding here that a more basic understanding of subjective preferences does not already imply?