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“Viewed as a language, theory has no substantive content; it is a set of tautologies. Its function is to serve as a filing system for organizing empirical material and facilitating our understanding of it; and the criteria by which it is to be judged are those appropriate to a filing system. Are, the categories clearly and precisely defined? Are they exhaustive? Do we know where to file each individual item, or is there considerable ambiguity? Is the system of headings and subheadings so designed that we can quickly find an item we want, or must we hunt from place to place? Are the items we shall want to consider jointly filed together? Does the filing system avoid elaborate cross-references? The answers to these questions depend partly on logical, partly on factual, considerations. The canons of formal logic alone can show whether a particular language is complete and consistent, that is, whether propositions in the language are ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ Factual evidence alone can show whether the categories of the ‘analytical filing system’ have a meaningful empirical counterpart, that is, whether they are useful in analyzing a particular class of concrete problems.” – Milton Friedman, “The Methodology of Positive Economics”

Published inEconomicsMilton Friedman

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