Posted by: John Vandivier | August 23, 2013

Caeconomics and Transphilosophy

Is caeconomics science or philosophy? Both. The idea that anyone should choose between those fields is a problematic false dichotomy.

Science and philosophy need each other. Without philosophy one cannot induct observed data into a theory, one cannot relatively reason which theory is preferable, one cannot determine what constitutes a good hypothesis nor determine which data constitutes a good proxy. Even measurement is difficult without philosophy as number theory and math are kinds of philosophy. There are also the issues of whether or not observation can yield truth or whether or not truth should be pursued, both epistemological and moral questions respectively.

On the other hand, philosophy is only as useful as the validity of underlying assumptions. Correct use of logic can yield a conclusion which necessarily follows from presuppositions, but many time the presuppositions are questionable. In some cases this uncertainty can be minimized or eliminated through the use of the so-called scientific method.

I prefer the term applied philosophy to science. People like to separate philosophy and science, but if they were truly separated they would each break down. Using the term applied philosophy instead of science emphasizes that when science is done correctly it involves philosophy. However, due to the entrenchment of current ideas on science, even emphasizing the use of philosophy and science together is not enough. The idea of how philosophy and science should work is as a step-by-step process. This is entirely not the case. Rather, it is the case that the two should be, and in reality are, used simultaneously at every step. Observation and logic must both contribute to the hypothesis, both contribute to the setting up of the experiment, both contribute to the collection of the data, the interpretation thereof and so on.

Transphilosophy is my term for the simultaneous use of philosophy and applied philosophy at every step of the simultaneous belief and action process, instead of a step-by-step model of the use of philosophy and applied philosophy which is called to mind if I were to use the two terms separately or reference the idea of the scientific method.

There are 4 aspects of the transphilosophical method, but they all occur simultaneously:

  1. Action
  2. Observation
  3. Consideration
  4. Preference

Consideration and preference may or may not be the same thing. I’ve been conducting thought experiments but can’t quite sort it out just yet.

While the scientific method supposes that we think and act sequentially, the transphilosophical model supposes that we are constantly acting on our beliefs at the same time that we are shaping our beliefs. The model applies both to deep and superficial beliefs like “I believe there is water in this cup.” Transphilosophy as a model of belief and action process is different from a simple model of information process theory. Transphilosophy tries to account for intelligence, preference, expectations theory, some behavioral theory and other processes not found in, for example, many computer systems.

One might hypothesize that personal preference can be determined by the difference in the belief process of a person from a purely logical information flow of a preference-free entity like a computer. That’s for another time.

In conclusion, I consider caeconomics a kind of transphilosophy because the caeconomics method of proof involves the mutual corroboration of an empirical and a philosophical proof. If you don’t buy this transphilosophy stuff though, just go with “both.” Caeconomics operates both by empirical work like a hard science, and also by deductive and philosophical work like an abstract or soft science, at every step. In my opinion that’s the way all real scholarship should work.



  1. […] and science can exist without each other is a completely garbage line of thinking which I address in this article, but it is worth mentioning because so many proponents of science seek to create that false […]

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