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Showing posts with the label ideology

The Market, the State and the Monkey in the Middle

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Profit versus regulationIn Economics for the Common Good, Noble laureate Jean Tirole describes the efficient and effective running of the economy.  The market operates in order to make a profit; the state regulates the market in order to insure that the population is well served and, in particular, to avoid monopolies and price fixing in the market.  Pro-business conservatives will complain about and protest over-regulation, the interference of the state in the market, administrative red tape and taxation which stifle and hamstring businesses from innovating, expanding and making a profit. Pro-state socialists and liberals will complain about and protest under-regulation, the failure of the state to control companies who, in their greed for profit, damage the environment, break or corrupt the law, and undermine the health and welfare of the population.  


"Game theory" and "cognitive bias"Tirole's claim to fame is the application of game theory to economics.  …

The Postmodern Hoax

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Beyond the HoaxReading Alan Sokal’s Beyond the Hoax brought back the question that haunted my university teaching career:  How much of postmodernism was intellectual fraud?
"Transgressing Boundaries" and Social TextSokal is the physicist who submitted a deliberately bogus article entitled “Transgressing the Boundaries:Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity” to the cultural studies journal Social Text.

Post-structuralism as MummeryAfter it was accepted and published (Spring/Summer 1996), Sokal announced that the article was nonsense, a parody of postmodernist half-baked arguments and verbiage. Sokal and the Belgian physicist/philosopher, Jean Bricmont, subsequently published Impostures Intellectuelles (1997) in which they systematically unmasked the mummery of leading lights of post-structuralist theory such as Jacques Lacan and Julia Kristeva.

Jacques Lacan as CharlatanThe most compelling essay I have read on Lacan is Dylan Evans’ “From Lacan to Darwin.”  Eva…

Time to Blow the Whistle

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What does "education" mean? Teachers, past, present and future, and students, it's time to blow the whistle.  Complaints and confessions are needed.  Name any problem--crime, depression (economic and psychological), sexism, racism, drug abuse, the breakup of marriages and families, etc, etc--and someone has already proposed that "education" is the solution.  Does anybody ever stop to consider what these specialists (politicians, administrators, sociolgists, ecologists, psychologists, pedagogues and functionaries) mean by "education"?


New myths for old The world renowned literary theorist and educator, Northrop Frye, described education as the process of getting rid of old myths, in order to replace them with new ones.  Frye was a great believer in "myth," so his declaration isn't quite as cynical as it sounds.  So let me play the cynic, although as you might guess, like most cynics, I'm really just a slightly bruised idealist.


Educatio…