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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index K > Frank Hyneman Knight Quotes

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Frank Hyneman Knight
(7 Nov 1885 - 15 Apr 1972)

American economist who founded the Chicago school of economics, which attributed bank failures and the stock market crash to big government. He favored a free-market economy over government regulation.

Science Quotes by Frank Hyneman Knight (1 quote)

The saying often quoted from Lord Kelvin… that “where you cannot measure your knowledge is meagre and unsatisfactory,” as applied in mental and social science, is misleading and pernicious. This is another way of saying that these sciences are not science in the sense of physical science and cannot attempt to be such without forfeiting their proper nature and function. Insistence on a concretely quantitative economics means the use of statistics of physical magnitudes, whose economic meaning and significance is uncertain and dubious. (Even wheat is approximately homogeneous only if measured in economic terms.) And a similar statement would even apply more to other social sciences. In this field, the Kelvin dictum very largely means in practice, “if you cannot measure, measure anyhow!”
— Frank Hyneman Knight
'What is Truth' in Economics? (1956), 166.
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Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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