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cameron majidi

Could either Knight or Friedman (or both) have been alluding to Hans Vaihinger's notion of the "als ob" and his concept of a model? Vaihinger's book was translated into English in 1924, but had been well known in German since its original appearance in 1911. Vaihinger's influence on various psychologists is well known, but it'd be interesting if he'd also influenced some economists.

Eric Schliesser

It's not impossible, of course. Frank Knight, especially, was very well read in German philosophy. But I think Pareto is the common source here. I also think there is a shared Weberian background. (But, of course, the Weber-Vaihinger connection is also worth exploring.) But I'll keep an eye out for Vaihinger in Knight (who tends to be generous in his citations)>

Ross Emmett

Roger Backhouse and I are looking into the Knight - Vaihinger connection. When one searches for "as if" in Knight's work, there are a lot of mentions of the term, and often used in the "as if" methodological way. Knight's knowledge of German, and of German philosophy in particular, would suggest a connection.

Otherwise: thanks for such a great post, Eric. I plan to use some of your ideas in writing about the Ethics of Competition in the next month.

Eric Schliesser

Thank you, Ross.

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