ABSTRACT: This article is an attempt to sketch a philosophical view of money as a social phenomenon. I show that the way to understand the substance of money is to analyze its meaning as a medium of exchange in connection with its meaning as a purpose of exchange, thereby providing an investigation of its social value. This approach has been used by many of the great philosophers and economists of the past, but not today. Modern economics is a policy oriented theoretical discipline and concentrates its efforts on solving practical tasks. I hope to contribute a philosophical approach to economic research.
Scientists are unbiased observers who use the
scientific method to conclusively confirm and conclusively falsify various
theories. These experts have no preconceptions in gathering the data and
logically derive theories from these objective observations. One great strength
of science is that it’s self-correcting, because scientists readily abandon
theories when they are shown to be irrational. Although such eminent views of
science have been accepted by many people, they are almost completely untrue.
Data can neither conclusively confirm nor conclusively falsify theories, there
really is no such thing as the scientific method, data become somewhat
subjective in practice, and scientists have displayed a surprisingly fierce
loyalty to their theories. There have been many misconceptions
1. In the formula “humanistic discipline” both the elements are meant to carry weight. This is not a lecture about academic organisation: in speaking of philosophy as a “humanistic” enterprise, I am not making the point that philosophy belongs with the humanities or arts subjects. The question is: what models or ideals or analogies should we look to in thinking about the ways in which philosophy should be done? It is an application to our present circumstances of a more general and traditional question, which is notoriously itself a philosophical question: how should philosophy understand itself?