Sometimes you don’t know what the puzzle is, until you’ve stumbled across a solution.

I think people don’t fully understand my obsession with wanting to read more and more theory … to what end? How I think of it is this way: we often don’t know why we learn math (a kind of theory-as-language) or what use it will have. Yet having learnt it, as a lens of the world, we begin to see certain things as problems with mathematical solutions. For instance, in economics, we might only be able to see the monopsonies as a problem of asymmetric market power AFTER we have been equipped with the language of optimization. Of course, once we have cast the phenomena as a problem in this language, the solution is readily available. Chances are, we thought of the solution simultaneously with the problem. Therefore, the idea that we need to “look for problems or questions” first, then find suitable theories to solve it certainly seems like one plausible way of doing things, BUT, it doesn’t seem to be the only way. Sometimes, just learning theory without being so instrumental in our rational for learning it can yield novel insights onto what is a problem and its corresponding solutions.


~ by moz on April 6, 2015.

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