Monday, February 8, 2010

Philosophy of evolutionary biology, economics, and management blog

I am teaching a unique graduate seminar in the philosophy of science class this semester at the University of Missouri, Columbia. The focus is on evolution theory applied to a variety of disciplines, especially economics and management. We're using the topic as a foil to delve into the conceptual issues of evolution theory (what is its nature, scope, and limits, etc.) and general philosophy of science topics (explanation, causation, idealization, etc.). What makes the seminar unique is that many seminar days will be lead by various experts, including Michael Weisberg (UPenn), Jay Odenbaugh (Lewis and Clark), Chris Pincock (Purdue), Denis Walsh (Toronto). And, several economists and an historian (all from University of Missouri) are participating in some way to the class. We've started a blog which has turned out to be very lively. Check it out here. If anyone is interested in the reading material let me know and I can tell you where it is posted. And, if you want to join the blog you are more than welcome to.

Cheers,

André

3 comments:

  1. That sounds like a fun course!
    Are you doing any stuff on the late nineteenth century relationships between economics and eugenics?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Eric: Alas, no. If you would come to teach it, I would do it! Clearly this course could be expanded and expanded. The good news is that the upper administration at my university has noticed this course, how it is conducted, and its value. I have high hopes that we could be teaching more courses like this in the future. My job is to, as it were, "keep it real". That is, keep it securely in the history and philosophy of science (as your idea suggests) and not water it down with provincial debates that might occur amongst writers at the intersection between philosophy and economics. That is, I'm worried that a program like this could turn into what has happened for bioethics. It is supposed to be about ethics and ethics will help clarify the particular debates at the intersection of ethics and biology. In practice it is just another area for poor scholarship--defeating the purpose. Any thoughts on this?

    André

    ReplyDelete
  3. I suspect there are two views on this: among philosophers of economics, there is a trend toward increasing formalization (and reduce the field to decision theory). The formal stuff keeps out some bad folk. But I rarely find the formal stuff illuminating of the nature, significance, and problems of economics (as a policy science and as a going empirical concern), not to mention the complex and long shared history of economics and philosophy.
    So, I think only good work that attracts good young people can maintain high standards--once there is excitement because of good young people entering field then standards improve. Maybe Anna Alexandrova, who is stellar, has a different perspective?

    ReplyDelete