The New Yorker review of Elephant in the Brain raved about Cents and Sensibility, by Gary Morson and Morton Shapiro, a book said to confirm that “intellectual overextension is often found in economics.” Others have
Many economists are political ideologues misusing the tools of science.
In the same sentence we find " the religious wars of the seventieth center"
It's not about injustice to Morson and Shapiro, it's about *Hanson's* obligation to take a minimal level of care. If he handed this in as an assignment, it would come back covered with red ink, and not because it's injust, or "offensive".
"it pertains to the quoter"
I said that it's the quoter's obligation ... sheesh. You're attacking a bunch of strawmen of your own creation that are nowhere to be found in what I wrote. It's funny -- but oh so common among the intellectually dishonest, cognitively inept gits that populate the intertubez -- that you say that my words "perhaps" imply something, and then immediately act as if your speculation is fact.
Someone could shoot and kill the current President of the United States, and while this would obviously be a violation of moral norms (and a violation of a moral obligation not to murder people), I would not be offended. The obligation has nothing to do with my intuitions or with being offended or with unanimity. You could survey academics and intellectuals to see what the consensus is on my claim that one has an obligation not to be so sloppy and lazy in manually transcribing text from a work one is criticizing, but while there certainly would be exceptions, you and I both know what you would find. You should also check with publishers ... such extensive (mis)quotation presses the limits of fair use.
This is the discussion that C. P. Snow started with "The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution" (1959).
It's fruitful to see this not as conflict between fields but conflict from different methodologies and cultures like C. P. Snow saw it.
Economics gets the heat because it's the one piece of humanities that is most committed to scientific culture (mathematical modeling, statistics, and data) but the conflict already exists within every field in humanities in some extent.
In some areas like psychology, the field is divided into two. In many other areas of humanity the methodology is slowly moving towards scientific methdology.
I'm strongly in the science camp and I don't see middle ground or taking prisoners in the long term. Economics does not lack good writing or narratives, it's just usually tied up with statistics or modeling. Adam Smith, Keynes, Friedman were good writers who wrote beautiful narratives and even their occasional hand waving is convincing. Piketty can write narratives too.
The same will happens with other humanities. They start to change their methodology and culture at some point and use them as basis for the narrative. Economists stepping into other social sciences just accelerates the process (and hurts feelings)
Fixed; thanks for pointing it out.
As both a part-time novelist and part-time economist, I feel like I really need to weigh in on this conversation.
First, I know lots of novelists and we don't understand people in general better than others. It's called fiction for a reason. At best, you might claim a good novelist over time grows to understand themselves better as they work things out in their work. Really, the best novelists understand how to simplify and portray people in a way easy for readers to grasp and emotionally identify with. It's a skill in portrayal and writing, not a wisdom in understanding. Pick up any popular book among writers about creating/writing characters and you'll see what I mean. They don't start with "First, spend decades growing to understand people."
Second, one of the values of the economic way of thinking is to give us tools to see aspects of situations where our initial emotional reaction may be inaccurate in specific cases. For the given example, having a functioning kidney market where people can benefit from transplants is a higher good than accommodating people who have an irrational fear of a mysterious "might" be bad about using markets to allocate a scarce resource. They might have a case if the suggestion was to deprive people of their property (their kidney) involuntarily, but objections to voluntary agreements by adults in my moral world-view bear the presumption of being morally fine unless there is a specific negative moral impact on others from them.
Saying, "I instinctively think it's icky, so for their own good and not because it harms anyone else, we must get together and forcibly prevent other people from doing it!" is probably the root of the worst moral crimes of our current majoritarian societies in the world.
In the sixth argument "not ready committed to rational choice theory" should be "not *already* committed".
Truly a horrific injustice against Morson and Shapiro there...
the obligation is yours to proofread the words you attribute to others.
This is, I think, one of those moral intuitions that Hanson has discussed as enjoying less unanimity than each of us conceives.
Your position perhaps implies that one would be justified in taking offense at a typographical error in a direct quote. Why? If the error signals anything, it pertains to the quoter. I wouldn't feel abused as the target of such a quote. Would you?
Economic models don't justify, they describe, no more than mathematical models "justify."
This seems to be a category error. Justification has to do with the use to which something (such as a model) is put. How much of today's economics is covertly justificatory can't be determined from the bare logic of models.
Economists spend a lot of time justifying moral decisions ... that's what this whole book and article is about. Your denial is not intellectually honest.
No, not to say that.
Economic models don't justify, they describe, no more than mathematical models "justify." That comment was really insightful though, because that's probably part of the issue! Morson and Shapiro and you assume that when someone creates an economic model to try to understand/describe something, they are really making a value judgement that that economic model is morally "correct." Is that a reasonable characterization of your view?
Um, https://www.businessinsider... , https://www.poetryfoundatio... , etc. You could easily have found out why they winced by doing a little research. And gee, maybe you should read the whole book before making sweeping judgments about it.
Most likely, but that's not what makes them sanctimonious, or what the word means -- that of course was the whole point of the Nazi example ... people obviously aren't sanctimonious simply because they consider it obvious that gassing six million Jews is wrong. You have committed a fallacy of affirmation of the consequent ("sanctimonious people do X; therefore people who do X are santimonious"), and are transparently intellectually dishonest, as usual.
> If you see typos do feel free to point them out.
No, asshole. As I said, the obligation is yours to proofread the words you attribute to others. If I see typos in your own words, I might point them out if I think they matter, but your *own* typos are no big deal, morally speaking.
'I have argued elsewhere that the fact that different societies have different moral intuitions suggests that we should expect high error rates in case-specific moral intuitions. And thus we should “curve-fit” to infer a simpler “curve” of moral truth that does not pass through or even very near to each case-specific intuition “data point”.'
Which is to say, we shouldn't try to understand the variations *systematically* as arising from, or being adaptations to, varying circumstances...?