Mathematics, Metaphors and Economic Visualisability

A few notes and quotes from Mathematics, Metaphors and Economic Visualisability.

[In the interaction view of metaphors,] Upon hearing or reading a metaphorical expression [such as “The king is a lion”], the system of the subsidiary subject — all of the reader or listener’s knowledge and beliefs about the subsidiary subject — interact with the system of the principal subject […] in the listener or reader’s thoughts. The result of this interaction is that the principal subject looks more similar to the subsidiary subject. A similarity or analogy is created.
[…] metaphors are not “ornamental” but play an important and useful cognitive role.

The choice of language influences the reader’s mental model and cognitive process.

Metaphors can help advance understanding, but also slow it down (when features of the subsidiary subject are mistakenly attributed to the principal subject, or some features are emphasized at the expense of others).

Economic visuability is important because it is the images invoked by mathematical metaphors in economics […] that may help to propel the development of knowledge in our science. Unfortunately, there would appear to be a tendency in contemporary mathematical economics towards low visualisability.

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