Janus without Cores: A Venture into Social Epistemology

18 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2019

See all articles by Richard E. Wagner

Richard E. Wagner

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 15, 2019


Frank Knight famously remarked nearly a century ago that the primary problems that stem from societal living together do not arise because of what we don’t know but rather arise because of what we know that isn’t true. This paper pursues Knight’s theme by incorporating three elements into it. One concerns the absence of cores under some institutional arrangements. A second concerns Vilfredo Pareto’s distinction between logical and non-logical action. A third concerns the quality of knowledge as vectors of qualities often more than scalars. The three concerns this paper address are combined to provide alternative insight into Hayek’s stress on the division of knowledge in society and Knight’s emphasis on the degree of intelligence within democratic action.

Keywords: simple facts vs. complex knowledge; logico-experimental method; non- logical action without cores; reason vs. rationality; artifactual knowledge; societal tectonics; Vilfredo Pareto; Frank Knight

JEL Classification: B41, B55, D72, D83

Suggested Citation

Wagner, Richard E., Janus without Cores: A Venture into Social Epistemology (April 15, 2019). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 19-13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3372386 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3372386

Richard E. Wagner (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
334 Enterprise Hall
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
(703) 993-1132 (Phone)

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