Hi Monika, thanks for your thoughts! I don't know that much about economics, but I do know there are some big names that reject looking to physics/thermodynamics for models of economic behavior. For example, Donald (now Deirdre) McCloskey and others have taken insights from continental philosophy (Habermas, Gadamer, Heidegger & others) to look at new ways of explaining economic phenomena (via narrative and hermeneutics, for instance) that take into account the fact humans are different from atoms and molecules (the self-consciousness thing is kind of a big deal!). The economic historian Philip Mirowski wrote a nice book explaining how "physics envy" took over mainstream economics. For me, the major problem with all these positivist approaches is that they think it is possible to gain an "absolute" view of "reality" from "nowhere." This is impossible and leads to logical contradictions involving self-reference. So we are left to build "knowledge" by instead moving towards broad intersubjective consensus, based on communication (if we don't want to Deconstruct everything and leave nothing to base our claims about the world on...). As you mention, data science blurs the distinction between ethics and "science" as these predictions are not aimed at groups, but at individuals (yet most aggregate the data in order to estimate parameters). Should one have a say in how one is represented (the GDPR says yes)? Does one's self-representation matter? How could we mathematically formalize this? Anyway, I know of a few economists who critique the assumptions of rational choice theory in interesting ways to include concepts like identity, emotion, and so on, maybe you're familiar with some of them. For example, Jon Elster, George Akerlof, Sun Ki Chai, George Loewenstein, and Amitai Etzioni. They seem to realize that most of the theory in econ is based on totally bogus assumptions.

Travis Greene. PhD Student in Business Analytics at the Institute of Service Science, National Tsing Hua University https://greenet09.github.io/datasophy/

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