Climate policy continued

As climate change has climbed higher on the political agenda, so has economics entered the debate prominently. This is part of a broader picture where modern societies choose to let their overall policy and major decisions be calculated and guided by the language and models of economics, as practiced by professional economists. When economists look at something, they naturally tend to think in terms of prices and markets, and then again to think about these markets and pricing phenomena in particular ways.

These ways of looking are also linguistic cognitions building on certain metaphors or frames that are often implicit, and of
which the users of economic concepts often are unaware. This dissertation undertakes an exploration of some strong metaphors underlying the language and theories within which the standard economic discourse is framed.

Metaphors are – according to metaphor theory and the philosophy of sciences – indispensable to development of models and theory. They are the cognitive means by which scientific models are conceived, constructed and communicated. According to Max Black, metaphors that are
heavily loaded with associations and also essential to the development of characteristic features of the scientific models, can be labelled strong metaphors. One example is ”the atom is like a solar system”. Another is ”DNA is like a code”. A third is ”CO2 emissions are like a market”. Some such strong metaphors develop into theoryconstitutive metaphors in that they give a cognitive and social framework within which a specific scientific theory is developed, empirical results are interpreted and models tested
against these results.

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