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“Ethics in Quantitative Finance”

Just before going to the workshop on dependencies in finance and insurance, Tim Johnson (also known as @TCJUK on Twitter), researcher at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and blogger on http://magic-maths-money.blogspot, sent me a copy of his manuscript entitled Ethics in Quantitative Finance: a pragmatic theory of markets. While opening the book, we think of Peter L. Bernstein, his masterpieces Capital Ideas (or the later Capital Ideas Evolving) as well as Against the Gods. But Tim’s book is quite different.  This book is not really about finance, but about financial valuation and actuarial science. We can clearly see the deep interactions between financial mathematics and actuarial science. About uncertainy, prices and probabilities. And all those topics are embeded with a philosophical perspective

the argument is presented that financial markets are radically uncertain environments, where correspondence theories of truth are meaningless since there are no matters of fact about an uncertain financial future. In the face of this uncertainty, markets are places where “the opinion which is fated to be ultimately agreed to by all who investigate” is sought and opinions are expressed through asset prices. This implies that markets are centres of communicative action and money is behaving as a language. Using Jürgen Habermas’ analysis, this implies that market prices ‒ statements of opinions ‒ must satisfy objective, subjective and social truth criteria. The argument presented is that reciprocity guarantees the objective truth, sincerity guarantees the subjective truth and charity guarantees the rightness of a price. This explains why reciprocity is embedded in financial mathematics.

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