In Search of Causation, Temporal Order, the Mind/Body Problem, Games and Civil Society: Peregrinations of a Journeyman Macroeconomist in Foreign Lands

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“To know, Aristotle maintains, is to understand the causes of things.”

Recent results in psychology, and cognitive science, have been impacting the work of philosophers, and the former results have been enlightened by the careful consideration of their philosophical foundations. This paper considers whether some of these recent approaches in philosophy and psychology might shed light on the temporal order of causality, and of Hume’s attachment to it, despite its detachment from the rest of his analysis. By its nature, this endeavor lies in the intersection of vast literatures; literatures which, frankly, the author has no chance of mastering. So if the results here are well known, or well known to be wrong, or manifestly foolish, or guilty of other such failings, hopefully the kind reader will so inform the author and not allow any natural reticence to stand in the way. The author’s own narrow interest in the topic of causality arose from the old question of whether economic development spurs financial developments, or whether financial developments enable economic development, and in what circumstances and in which aspects, and whether such questions are meaningful.


Keywords: Causation, Game Theory, Consciousness, Systems, Civil Society
Stream: Knowledge
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Prof. John Bryant

Henry S. Fox Sr. Professor of Economics and Professor of Management, Department of Economics, Rice University
Houston, Texas, USA

In 1969 I graduated from Oberlin College with High Honors in Economics. My graduate work, leading to a M.S. and a Ph.D. in economics, was at Carnegie Mellon University, where my thesis committee was Allan Meltzer, Robert Lucas and Edward Prescott. After starting my career as an Economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, I moved to Rice University in 1981. My interests have been in Macroeconomics, Monetary Theory, Game Theory, and Coordination, and especially as applied to bank runs, financial fragility and strategic uncertainty generally. In the past several years I have turned to more basic issues in strategic uncertainty and causation, issues raised by the preceding more applied interests.

Ref: H08P0641