Magister Ludi

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"By `uncertain' knowledge, let me explain, I do not mean merely to distinguish what is known for certain from what is only probable. The game of roulette is not subject, in this sense, to uncertainty... The sense in which I am using the term is that in which the prospect of a European war is uncertain, or the price of copper and the rate of interest twenty years hence...About these matters there is no scientific basis on which to form any calculable probability whatever. We simply do not know. Nevertheless, the necessity for action and for decision compels us as practical men to do our best to overlook this awkward fact and to behave exactly as we should if we had behind us a good Benthamite calculation of a series of prospective advantages and disadvantages, each multiplied by its appropriate probability waiting to be summed."

(John Maynard Keynes, "General Theory of Employment", Quarterly Journal of Economics, 1937)

"Many idle controversies involving the nature of expectation could be avoided by recognizing at the outset that man's conscious actions are the reflection of his beliefs and of nothing else."

(Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, The Nature of Expectation and Uncertainty"1958)

"If we take the Keynesian construction seriously, that is, as of a world with a past as well as a future and in which contracts are made in terms of money, no equilibrium may exist...... From all this, as well as from our existence discussions, we conclude that the Keynesian revolution cannot be understood if proper account is not taken of the powerful influence exerted by the future and the past on the present and by the large modifications that must be introduced into both value theory and stability analysis, if the requisite future markets are missing."

(Kenneth J. Arrow and Frank H. Hahn, General Competitive Analysis, 1971: p.361, 369)

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