Vanity of the Philosopher From Equality to Hierarchy in Post-Classical Economics

ISBN-10: 0472114964
ISBN-13: 9780472114962
Edition: 2005
List price: $60.00
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Description: The "Vanity of the Philosopher" continues the themes introduced in Levy's acclaimed book How the Dismal Science Got Its Name. Here, Peart and Levy tackle the issues of racism, eugenics, hierarchy, and egalitarianism in classical economics and take  More...

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Book details

List price: $60.00
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Publication date: 10/10/2005
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 344
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.50" long x 1.50" tall
Weight: 1.430
Language: English

The "Vanity of the Philosopher" continues the themes introduced in Levy's acclaimed book How the Dismal Science Got Its Name. Here, Peart and Levy tackle the issues of racism, eugenics, hierarchy, and egalitarianism in classical economics and take a broad view of classical economics' doctrine of human equality. Responding to perennial accusations from the left and the right that the market economy has created either inequality or too much equality, the authors trace the role of the eugenics movement in pulling economics away from the classical economist's respect for the individual toward a more racist view at the turn of the century. The "Vanity of the Philosopher" reveals the consequences of hierarchy in social science. It shows how the "vanity of the philosopher" has led to recommendations that range from the more benign but still objectionable "looking after" paternalism, to overriding preferences, and, in the extreme, to eliminating purportedly bad preferences. The authors suggest that an approach that abstracts from difference and presumes equal competence is morally compelling. "People in the know on intellectual history and economics await the next book from Peart and Levy with much the same enthusiasm that greets a new Harry Potter book in the wider world. This book delivers the anticipated delights big time!" -William Easterly, Professor of Economics and Africana Studies, NYU, and non-resident Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development "In their customary idiosyncratic manner, Sandra Peart and David Levy reexamine the way in which the views of classical economists on equality and hierarchy were shifted by contact with scholars in other disciplines, and the impact this had on attitudes towards race, immigration, and eugenics. This is an imaginative and solid work of scholarship, with an important historical message and useful lessons for scholars today." -Stanley Engerman, John Munro Professor of Economics and Professor of History, University of Rochester Sandra J. Peart, Professor of Economics at Baldwin-Wallace College, has published articles on utilitarianism, the methodology of J. S. Mill, and the transition to neoclassicism. This is her fourth book. David M. Levy is Professor of Economics at George Mason University and Director of the Center for Study of Public Choice. This is his third book.

David M. Levy is Associate Professor of Economics and Research Associate, Center for Study of Public Choice, George Mason University.

Equality versus hierarchy
Analytical egalitarianism and its opposition
Perceiving race and hierarchy
Classical economics and the cattle herders
Hierarchy and transformation : "chemical political economy"
Denying human homogeneity : eugenics and the making of postclassical economics
Statistical prejudice : from eugenics to immigration
Picking losers for sterilization : eugenics as demographic central planning
Debating sympathy
Sympathy and its discontents : "greatest happiness" versus the "general good"
"Who are the canters?" : the coalition of evangelical-economic egalitarians
A discipline without sympathy : the happiness of the majority and its demise
Darwin and the differential capacity for happiness : from cardinal to ordinal utility theory
The theorist in the model
Analytical egalitarianism, anecdotal evidence, and information aggregation via proverbial wisdom
Conclusion
Sympathy and the past : our "stock in dead people" reconsidered
Postscript : a letter from M. Ali Khan
Galton's two papers on voting as robust estimation

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