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Max Weber Fellows' Contribution to the Social Sciences and Humanities

Group photo from June Conference 2012

7th Max Weber Fellows' June Conference

12-14 June 2013

The 2013 June conference of the Max Weber Programme will bring past and present Fellows together under the roof of Villa La Fonte for the fourth time. The conference will provide a perspective on the 'Max Weber Fellows' contributions to Social Sciences and Humanities’ in research and academia. It will also be a forum for the fostering of cross-disciplinary and inter-cohort academic collaboration, and for reflection on the MWP experience and academic experiences in teaching and in the job market, which will also benefit future cohorts of Fellows.  

Conference Programme (PDF)


Keynote Talk by Ramon Marimon, Director MWP, 12 June at 17.00, Villa La Fonte

"Subjective Rationality and Trust - (On Social Sciences and the Euro crisis; an economist’s perspective)"


Mostly building on work presented at Max Weber Programme (MWP) lectures and conferences during its first seven years, I question the common divide between the natural and social sciences.

Once the differences are properly understood, the scientific method is basically the same: a systematic interplay of induction and deduction. At the core of this discussion is the distinction between objective and subjective rationality (in turn based on the distinction between risk and uncertainty). Objective rationality – such as the rational expectations hypothesis – is not justified by (empirical) induction, but by the needs of (logical) deduction in social science models.

Nevertheless, the interplay of induction and deduction can be enhanced, without losing its systematic character, by properly considering: i) the learning process by which individual agents and societies achieve higher levels of rationality; ii) different forms of reasoning and learning (e.g. rule-based vs. case-based), and iii) weaker forms of rationality. In this perspective, the process of learning by agents, and of societies, parallels the evolutionary process of scientific knowledge.

Furthermore, I show how objective rationality and trust can be related. Power – and not properly accounted interests – can destroy trust, as they can disrupt learning; an important lesson for social norm-institutional design. I illustrate the discussion with examples from ‘The Great Confusion’ (the Euro crisis) and from the design of the MWP. 

Download the abstract in pdf


Conference Committee:

Janine Balter (ECO), Jean Beaman (SPS), Thomas Beukers (LAW), Adam Bower (SPS), Julia Cordero Coma (SPS), Daniel Horn (SPS), Swen Hutter (SPS), Anita Kurimay (HEC), Migle Laukyte (LAW), Marcos Nakaguma (ECO), Ramon Marimon (MWP), and Karin Tilmans (MWP). 

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