Saturday, July 26, 2014

Addendum to SCIOD 1: Paper Mechanisms

Joseph Dorfman tells of the note John Maurice Clark sent to Wesley Mitchell on May 14, 1948, (the day after Sandwichman was born):
I have a theory of competition which argues that any fixed schematic laws must be misleading, because competition is an evolving thing. And I have a theory of human nature which can't be used as a basis for deductive theorizing, because it includes too many various elements and leaves too much room for personal and group differences in values and in behavior.
A week later, Clark added the sarcastic observation, "In dealing with the evolutionary character of the mechanisms, I sometimes think 'theory' of the abstract sort is a device for converting usefully enlightening ideas about behavior and motivation into paper mechanisms whereby armchair theorists can grind out misleading results."

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