If I ever meet Zeynep Tufekci, a beverage of her choice is due to her from me.
Last week’s post about her take on metaepistomology bought forth two very pleasant consequences. Whether they were intended or not is a question I myself have been grappling with, but I shall deal with that question (and that story) later on this week.
About those consequences:
- A student from the BSc program at the Gokhale Institute wrote in asking if we could have a discussion about metaepistomology – and you’ll permit me a self-congratulatory pat on the back for getting folks interested in a word as daunting as that. This of course means that I will have to spend a fair chunk of my time today reading up about metaepistomology myself, but I know that can only be a good thing.
(Or do I?)
- Another student from the same program asked why a course on philosophy wasn’t a part of the program in a formal sense. To which I had no good answer, beyond saying that the course constraints were such that it could not be fit in.
Which, let’s be upfront and honest, is no answer at all. So, the topic of today’s blogpost: if there were to be a summer school, or a workshop, or a weekend course – whatever – on philosophy at the undergrad level, what all should it contain?
I don’t have a formal training in philosophy, having never taken the subject in my own undergrad days. It wasn’t on offer, I am sad to report, when I was doing my Masters. But I have tried to read a little bit here, and a little bit there, and have jotted down the list below as a starting point. Note that I have tried to ask what should be included in a summer school for students of economics who are studying philosophy for the first time, rather than first time students of philosophy. Also not that I am a complete amateur: please, point out obvious omissions!
- Wikipedia has the following headings as the scope of philosophy and economics:
- The ontology of economics
- The epistemology of economics (and by the way, please read this, and all the links therein)
- Rational choice
- Ethics and Justice (the two books below, to me, merit separate classes in their own right. I have tried to read through both of them, but not succeeded either in terms of completing them or understanding them. I’d like to try again)
- In addition to all that, I would like to have discussions on the following books:
- Stubborn Attachments
- The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty.
- Small is Beautiful
- The Tyranny of Merit (I’m not even halfway through the book yet, I should mention)
- I know there is an endless list here, but I cannot speak with any authority about any of them. This list is simply books that I have read – and have informed my worldview. Books by Easterly, Sachs, Sen, Stiglitz and Bhagwati are tempting to add here, but I haven’t because I think they are more about economics than the philosophy of economics. But hey, that’s just me. Please, do feel free to add to the list.
- Then there’s John Stuart Mill, Jeremy Bentham, Karl Marx. Who am I missing? (Update: Rahul Srivastava points out who I’m missing. This guy who wrote this book about nations and wealth. You may have heard of it. Arrrgggh.)
That, I’m guessing should be more than enough for a 30 hour introduction, and the reading list is already monstrous.
So when I ask of you, what am I missing, I’m really asking the following: who/what would you include (and why) and who/what would you remove (and why). If there is anybody reading this who could help, please do write in.