The Limits to Certainty

  • Orio Giarini
  • Walter R. Stahel

Part of the International Studies in the Service Economy book series (ISSE, volume 4)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiii
  2. Orio Giarini, Walter R. Stahel
    Pages 1-9
  3. Orio Giarini, Walter R. Stahel
    Pages 11-128
  4. Orio Giarini, Walter R. Stahel
    Pages 243-264
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 265-271

About this book


I consider it a privilege to have been invited to write a preface for "The Limits to Certainty". It is however paradoxical that a theo­ retical physicist be asked to write about a monograph dealing mainly with service economics. Notwithstanding, I am delighted to do so. Indeed, it is striking that two so widely different fields like physics and social science, and more especially economics, can interact in such a constructive way. There is no question here of reductionism. Nobody claims to be able to reduce social scien­ ces to physics, nor to use patterns of social interaction in order to formulate new laws for atoms. What is at stake here is more im­ portant than reduction; the age-old separation between the so-cal­ led "hard" and "soft sciences" is breaking down. This separation has a long history. First, one should recall the influence of Newton's achievement on the formulation of scienti­ fic goals. This influence led to the formulation of equilibrium mo­ dels for supply/demand adjustment. As was noticed by Walter Weisskopf: "the Newtonian paradigm underlying classical and non-classical economics interpreted the economy according to the patterns developed in classical physics and mechanics, in analogy to the planetary system, to a machine or clockwork: a closed auto­ nomous system ruled by endogenous factors of a highly selective nature, self-regulating and moving to a determinate, predictable point of equilibrium" (The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance (1984), Vol. 9, no. 33, pp. 335-360).


Distribution Economic Growth economy foundation growth social policy welfare

Authors and affiliations

  • Orio Giarini
    • 1
  • Walter R. Stahel
    • 1
  1. 1.PROGRES, Programme of Research on the Economics of ServicesGenevaSwitzerland

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-94-010-4780-7
  • Online ISBN 978-94-011-1775-3
  • Series Print ISSN 0924-6363
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
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