The mosh pit of the philosophers

This was a superb article, as the lede shows:

My message to the 200-plus participants was an attack on the philosophic bases of modern economic theory: utilitarianism and the fact-value and positive-normative distinctions. I asserted that justice was necessary for the both liberty and economic order, and that the bases of a sane economy were justice, property, and strong families. Indeed, the whole purpose of the economy, as Aristotle noted, was to provision the family, and not merely to pile up wealth.

However, the real money quote is from about halfway through the article, from whence the titular quote is culled:

As near as I can recall, he said, “You are trying to drag us [the economists] off the pedestal of science into the mosh-pit of the philosophers.” Of course, he is absolutely right, and my only regret is that I do not have the wit to devise that metaphor myself. For it was a witty remark and instantly conjured up a vision of Aristotle throwing an elbow into the ribs of the sophists, of Plato poking the eye of a positivist, and Thomas Aquinas, that sumo-wrestler of the philosophers, tossing bodies out of the ring as if they were rag dolls.

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1 Comment

  1. I didn’t think it was a very good article, because I didn’t get the impression that he understands economics particularly well…especially judging by his straw-man remark about the accumulation of wealth. Maybe he does know what he’s talking about, but the article at least raises my skepticism.

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