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Working Paper No. 141. In Defense of Dwelling in Great Minds

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Daniel Klein, Företagandets villkor, Innovation
Working Paper No. 141.
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Abstract

It seems like a small and perhaps shrinking minority of economists know reverence of individual figures. Most economists seem to be without heroes, and sometimes disparage reverence as cultish idolatry. Here I collect from Michael Polanyi’s The Study of Man (1959) a few passages that eloquently suggest that “we need reverence to perceive greatness, even as we need a telescope to observe spiral nebulae.” The selection is made in the defense of seeking out and communing with great minds.

Klein, D.B. (2009). In Defense of Dwelling in Great Minds: A Few Quotations from Michael Polanyi’s The Study of Man. Ratio Working Paper No. 141.

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Working Paper No. 153. From Weight Watchers to State Watchers
Working paperPublication
Klein, D.B.
Publication year

2010

Published in

Ratio Working Paper

Abstract

Alan Kahan’s Mind vs. Money: The War between Intellectuals and Capitalism (Transaction Publishers, 2010) treats intellectuals as a class, and tells of intellectuals’ yearning to play the role of cleric and of aristocrat. Kahan says that intellectuals are necessarily alienated from “capitalism.” In this essay I discuss Kahan’s erudite and insightful – though sometimes exasperating – work, and I take the opportunity to develop some ideas on the topic, ideas in line with Hayek’s thought.

Working Paper No. 140. Knowledge Flat-talk
Working paperPublication
Klein, D.B.
Publication year

2009

Published in
Abstract

Articulate knowledge entails the triad: information, interpretation, and judgment. Information is the reading of the facts through a working interpretation. Much of modern political economy has miscarried by discoursing as though interpretation were symmetric and final. This move has the effect of flattening knowledge down to information – here dubbed “knowledge flat-talk.” Economic prosperity depends greatly on discovery, but discovery is often a transcending of the working interpretation, not merely the acquisition of new information. Models typically assume that the modeler’s working interpretation is common knowledge. But often the sets of relevant knowledge of the relevant actors do not approximate the common knowledge assumption. We need better understanding and appreciation of asymmetric interpretation and its dynamics.

Related content: Knowledge Flat-talk

Working Paper No. 140. Knowledge Flat-talk
Working paperPublication
Klein, D.B.
Publication year

2009

Published in
Abstract

Articulate knowledge entails the triad: information, interpretation, and judgment. Information is the reading of the facts through a working interpretation. Much of modern political economy has miscarried by discoursing as though interpretation were symmetric and final. This move has the effect of flattening knowledge down to information – here dubbed “knowledge flat-talk.” Economic prosperity depends greatly on discovery, but discovery is often a transcending of the working interpretation, not merely the acquisition of new information. Models typically assume that the modeler’s working interpretation is common knowledge. But often the sets of relevant knowledge of the relevant actors do not approximate the common knowledge assumption. We need better understanding and appreciation of asymmetric interpretation and its dynamics.

Related content: Knowledge Flat-talk

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