Catalogue


The "vanity of the philosopher" [electronic resource] : from equality to hierarchy in postclassical economics /
Sandra J. Peart & David M. Levy.
imprint
Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, c2005.
description
xviii, 323 p. : ill.
ISBN
0472114964 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
added author
added author
imprint
Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, c2005.
isbn
0472114964 (cloth : alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
12464375
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 283-305) and indexes.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2006-09-01:
Peart (Baldwin Wallace College) and Levy (George Mason Univ.) have written a remarkable history of how economists' assumptions about equality and inequality have shaped their work. They begin with Adam Smith's well-known remark in the Wealth of Nations that at birth there is no fundamental difference between the two people who ultimately become a porter and a philosopher. From Smith's fundamental egalitarianism, they take a long tour through British economics to argue that while classical economics (e.g., Ricardo and J. S. Mill) assumed basic equality between humans, "post-classical" economists were fundamentally inegalitarian in their beliefs and the theoretical arguments they made. Throughout the book, Peart and Levy provide a rich cultural context to aid in explaining the 19th-century turn to the idea that some humans are essentially more important than others. This book extends and sharpens the argument that Levy made in his widely reviewed How the Dismal Science Got Its Name (2001). Peart and Levy have made an argument that will shape debates in economics, intellectual history, and social theory for several years. ^BSumming Up: Essential. Lower-division undergraduate through professional collections. B. W. Bateman Grinnell College
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This item was reviewed in:
Choice, September 2006
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Summaries
Main Description
The "Vanity of the Philosopher"continues the themes introduced in Levy's acclaimed bookHow 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. Levyis Professor of Economics at George Mason University and Director of the Center for Study of Public Choice. This is his third book.
Main 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 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. Levyis Professor of Economics at George Mason University and Director of the Center for Study of Public Choice. This is his third book.
Main 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 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.
Long 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 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.
Bowker Data Service Summary
Attemps to explain the shift from egalitarian classical economic thought to the difference and hierarchy of post-classical economic thinking.
Table of Contents
Equality versus hierarchy
Analytical egalitarianism and its oppositionp. 3
Perceiving race and hierarchyp. 15
Classical economics and the cattle herders
Hierarchy and transformation : "chemical political economy"p. 31
Denying human homogeneity : eugenics and the making of postclassical economicsp. 58
Statistical prejudice : from eugenics to immigrationp. 87
Picking losers for sterilization : eugenics as demographic central planningp. 104
Debating sympathy
Sympathy and its discontents : "greatest happiness" versus the "general good"p. 129
"Who are the canters?" : the coalition of evangelical-economic egalitariansp. 154
A discipline without sympathy : the happiness of the majority and its demisep. 180
Darwin and the differential capacity for happiness : from cardinal to ordinal utility theoryp. 208
The theorist in the model
Analytical egalitarianism, anecdotal evidence, and information aggregation via proverbial wisdomp. 237
Conclusion
Sympathy and the past : our "stock in dead people" reconsideredp. 265
Postscript : a letter from M. Ali Khanp. 270
Galton's two papers on voting as robust estimationp. 273
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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