Theme I. What Is Macroeconomics?

Knowledge and reality in macroeconomic development What is human knowledge?

To characterize knowledge as a human creation is, of course, commonplace. But this triviality can be changed into a response that generates new and relevant issues, opening "the" scientific research. As K. Popper shows, "the most lasting contribution that can be made to the development of the theory of scientific knowledge refers to the new problems that it raises," so there from a problem we reach other "problems ever closer and more fruitful in generating new problems."[1]

We problematize again the theory according to which knowledge is a human creation, we ask, in fact, why we are dealing with a human creation? The first response is: "man creates knowledge as he is able to do it." And this answer leads to another question: "How is man able to know?" In this case we approach science: human creation bears the specific knowledge and limits our ability to produce knowledge. In other words, knowledge can include man-made errors.

The errors of the knowledge represent a particularly important issue in the analysis that we undertake. In his time, Plato (427-347 BC), in the famous "allegory of the cave,"[2] put in evidence the knowledge errors generated by "human concealed life" (in a position blocking the way to truth) and "fight with inertia of the lack of freedom" for people to accept the truth ("alethes" - unconcealed).[3]

At a distance of about two thousand years, Fr. Bacon (1561-1626) showed the four possible types of errors of knowledge: the idols of the tribe (depending on human nature), idols of the cave (depending on individuals), idols of the forum (those generated of social cohabitation) and idols of the theater (generated by the dogmas of philosophers).[4]

Today, research analyses of knowledge accumulate and formulate new answers to new questions. Knowledge is a specific invention. Man creates, in the proper sense, a "reality" composed of concepts, conceptual relations, meanings and rules of evaluation, definitions and criteria for acceptance or rejection of "images," of what could be "the world" (including "world of our ideas"). The correspondence between "image" that we create about the world and the "world" itself is established historically and comparatively.

We do not intend to treat the full problem of knowledge. What we refer only to outlining some key aspects of the process of knowledge to have a relevant theoretical apparatus to analyze problems of the economy itself, in general, or macroeconomics, in particular. So, man creates (invents) a "world" of images that aims to make sense, it gives us understanding of what is "outside world knowledge." How can we know what is beyond knowledge? It seems a pointless question. In fact, it is all about the man's relationship to the "world" that allows us to formulate questions and answers about the world. But, "the world," our "world," which we imagine is not, cannot be, an "objective world," without the involvement of our subjectivity.

One should look at economic theory, which we call the word "economics" as a subjective construction (i.e. dependent on the subject knowing, man) about the objective world. Being a construction dependent on people (in their capacity as knowing subjects, i.e. people who know the mediation concepts, preferences, beliefs, planned instruction, intellectual capacity, experience, etc.) knowledge will involve different perspectives, different models of seeing the world. People refer to "outside world" not as an "objective" and passive observer, but as a man living in the world, that conceives the world through mediation of his "beings." "The reporting of man is affectively pierced by the character shown of beings in its wholeness."[5]

  • [1] Popper, Karl (1970), "Truth, Rationality and Progress of Scientific Knowledge." In Logic of Science, Bucharest: Political House Publishing, 112.
  • [2] See comments made by Thomas Kleininger and Gabriel Liiceanu in Martin Heidegger, Highlights on the Road of Thinking, Bucharest, Political House Publishing, 1988, 161.
  • [3] Ibid p.164
  • [4] Bacon, Hobbes, Locke. Bucharest: State Publishing House Scientific and Didactic Literature, 1957, 35-36.
  • [5] Heidegger, Martin, "About the Essence of Truth." In Highlights on the Road of Thinking, 180.
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