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No 140:
Knowledge Flat-talk: A Conceit of Supposed Experts and a Seduction to All

Daniel B. Klein ()

Abstract: Articulate knowledge entails the triad: information, interpretation, and judgment. Information is the reading of the facts through a working interpretation. Much of modern political economy has miscarried by discoursing as though interpretation were symmetric and final. This move has the effect of flattening knowledge down to information – here dubbed “knowledge flat-talk.” Economic prosperity depends greatly on discovery, but discovery is often a transcending of the working interpretation, not merely the acquisition of new information. Models typically assume that the modeler’s working interpretation is common knowledge. But often the sets of relevant knowledge of the relevant actors do not approximate the common knowledge assumption. We need better understanding and appreciation of asymmetric interpretation and its dynamics.

Keywords: knowledge; information; interpretation; judgment; common knowledge; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: A10; D80; (follow links to similar papers)

20 pages, September 21, 2009

Published in The Independent Review

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