Should theories be beautiful?

According to Lave and March, and many others, the answer is yes. But take a look at Krugman’s analysis “How did economists get it so wrong?” in the New York Times . He blames beauty.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/06/magazine/06Economic-t.html?_r=1&em

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One Response to “Should theories be beautiful?”

  1. Brandon Says:

    I do not think that theoretical beauty and inaccuracy with the real world go hand in hand. The best theories are those that are both elegant and true. That’s what makes them beautiful. What went wrong with the economists was that they focused primarily on the mathematical elegance without seriously coupling their models with the real world. Such a pairing does not necessarily mean the models have to become convoluted and ugly. They just need to reflect the way our world works. The models that do that in the simplest way are naturally the most beautiful. They illuminate minds and allow people to understand complex things in simple ways. I think people desire such illumination. Therefore, theories should indeed be beautiful.

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