Tue Nov 11, 2014, 4:30PM - 5:30PM
Martin Carrier
Universität Bielefeld

Location: 310 DeBartolo Hall

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Topic: Science, Economy, and Politics: How to Respond to the Credibility Crisis of Science

Abstract: Science in the public arena is increasingly regarded with mistrust. Scientific judgments on matters of practical concern are not infrequently suspected of being incompetent and biased. Incompetence is rather attributed to scientific experts in politics, while bias is more often ascribed to scientists in industry. Such features have contributed to undermining the credibility of science. The epistemic authority of science is hurt by its politicization and commercialization. Two proposals for remedying this deficiency are discussed presently. One aims at strengthening the independence of science, the other one recommends counter-politicization. I argue that an often neglected, yet fundamental question in this context is how science should be organized in order to produce maximum practical benefit. This question translates into formulating an appropriate research heuristics. My claim is that pluralism among the aims of science can contribute to implementing this heuristics—which in turn can be expected to promote the credibility of science.

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Tue Nov 18, 2014, 4:30PM - 6:00PM
​Joel Isaac
University of Cambridge

Location: 310 DeBartolo

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“The Twentieth Century’s Adam Smith Problem”

Abstract: This paper presents a counter-history of Adam Smith's reception in the twentieth century.  Instead of itemizing the many but superficial attempts to claim Smith's mantle by economists and political scientists, the paper explores the puzzling irrelevance of Smithian ideas in development economics and in growth and trade models emerging from the neoclassical tradition.  Smith's absence seems especially striking in connection with Allyn Young's pioneering but ultimately marginalized attempt to construct a Smithian growth theory in his seminal 1928 essay on increasing returns and economic development.  Displaced from mainstream economics, these ideas emerged instead in the history of political thought in the 1970s and 1980s.  The intellectual topography that emerges from this account yields some valuable insights into the recent history of the social sciences.

Dr. Joel Isaac is a lecturer in the history of modern political thought at the University of Cambridge.

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