19.385 collegiality

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 1 Nov 2005 06:25:50 +0000

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 19, No. 385.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Mon, 31 Oct 2005 06:23:57 +0000
         From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
         Subject: collegiality

I was reminded this morning of the many virtues
of collegiality that we share as members of a
relatively obscure community of practice,
unconnected to the sources and centres of
political power. The reminder was the latest
issue of Post Autistic Economics Review
which I happen to receive. In an article entitled
"Whither Heterodoxy", Robert F Garnett, Jr
reviews the recent history of the Post Autistic
Economics movement of the turn of this century,
'when a series of petitions from young economists
in France, the U.K., the U.S., and Italy...
called for "a total overhaul of economics and
economics teaching" to create a more open and
scientific economics, guided by a philosophically
principled pluralism.... The pluralistic ethos of
the PAE movement struck a resonant chord with
economics students and faculty around the world,
giving rise to what Fullbrook describes as a
"peace movement" among non-mainstream economists,
an historic attempt to forge unity among
dissenters who despite being "a sizable and
growing minority" have long been divided into
separate schools of thought.' The enthusiasm for
pluralistic reform drew sharp criticism in
particular from heterodox economists, such as J B
Davis and P Davidson. '"Until heterodox
economists unite behind a single 'general
theory,' they are going to be losers"', Davidson
comments. '"You cannot beat a rigid orthodoxy who
despise non-pure bred Aryans (heterodox
economists) with a 'let='s all share the tent guys
and gals' philosophy. As the Allies found out
when dealing with Hitler, it takes an
'unconditional surrender' approach and stronger
[in this case, stronger logical] forces to win
what -- whether you like it or not -- the other
side has declared to be a war of annihilation (Davidson 2003b)."

I'm as ignorant of the economic theoretical
paradigms and movements as most here, but I quote
from the article for the conjuring of warfare and
worse. What, I wonder, do these academics think
they're doing? Henry Kissinger is supposed to
have said on returning from government to the
quiet groves of Harvard that the fights among
academics are far more vicious than those in
government, since the academics have so much less
to fight for. He would think that. But perhaps
the elevation of ordinary life to the status of a
norm (i.e. by identifying what is "normal" with
what is usual) and the consequent persuasiveness
of the doctrine of relevance are not such good things after all.

Meanwhile, as long as we are allowed to sing
harmoniously in a low key, let us do so.



Dr Willard McCarty | Reader in Humanities
Computing | Centre for Computing in the
Humanities | King's College London | Kay House, 7
Arundel Street | London WC2R 3DX | U.K. | +44
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willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/wlm/
Received on Tue Nov 01 2005 - 01:31:58 EST

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