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斯蒂格勒谈名家—读Memoirs of an Unregulated Economist札记
2022-6-27 22:56
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研究学术名家是件有意思但不容易的事情。因为真正的研究需要第一手观察,但结识名家就不容易。“Unless one is extraordinarily aggressive and socially skillful, one cannot cultivate many eminent scholars—and they are surely the most interesting to study. (p. 207)”如果没有直接交往,就只能看到名家的公开言论,或许有“隔”,借用王国维《人间词话》中的说法。Stigler观察经济学名家,给出了有趣的结果。

 

Stigler认为经济学家不肯承认和改正错误。“One attribute of able economists that I learned early is that they seldom admit or correct a mistake. Of course, an able economist shouldn’t (and perhaps is not allowed to) make many mistakes, at least the kind of mistakes that are easily correctible, but even the few correctible mistakes are seldom admitted. (p. 208)”

 

相应地,学者很少改变看法。“A second and related trait of scholars is that they seldom change their minds. (p. 210)”

 

当然,从另个角度讲,犯错误也是名家的特权。“The likelihood of error and the magnitude of the error will both be larger, the more careless (ambitious?) a scholar becomes. (p. 175)”甚至著名机构亦如此“It is only reasonable that much more freedom to err is given to the more conspicuously successful institutions. (p. 174)”

 

Stigler对这种现象也做了有一定说服力的解释。学者能够成名,不仅是他们能提出新的见解,而且更在于他们坚持自己的见解。“A scholar is an evangelist seeking to convert his learned brethren to the new enlishtenment he is preaching. New ideas encounter formidable obstaches, the foremost being indifference, but also the new ideas will often conflict with old ideas or clash with apparently contradictoryexperience. A new idea proposed in a halfhearted and casual way is almost certainly consigned to oblivion. A scholar who cannot convince himself that what he proposes is certainly true and possibly important is asking a good deal of others to generate enthusiasm for the idea. (p. 211)”作者引用了Herbert Spencer的说法,“Only by constant iteration can alien truths be impressed upon reluctant minds. (p. 211)”

 

智识领袖就是名家最容易犯的毛病是太把自己的看法当回儿事。用Stigler的话说,这些学者缺乏幽默感。“Some of these traits of intellectual leaders are caught in the statement that they lack a sense of humer. I mean… the ability to view oneself with detached candor. Ridicule is a common weapon of attack but amused self-examinaton is a form of disarmament; one so endower cannot declaim his beliefs with massive certainty and view opposing opinions as error uncontaminated by truth. (p. 213)” 手里有了榔头,就看什么都像钉子。

 

优秀学者的大家风范是认识到自己的局限。如Stigler所说,“…how limited the knowledge and imagination of even the finest scholars are. We all wear glasses that carry a date in time and the name of some geographic area, and with even the keenest of vision these glasses allow us to see only limited distances and partial motion of our world. (p. 219)”

 

 

斯蒂格勒谈大学—读Memoirs of an Unregulated Economist札记

 

斯蒂格勒谈学者Memoirs of an Unregulated Economist札记

 

斯蒂格勒谈专家—读Memoirs of an Unregulated Economist札记

 

斯蒂格勒谈知识Memoirs of an Unregulated Economist札记

 

斯蒂格勒谈学界Memoirs of an Unregulated Economist札记

 

斯蒂格勒谈发表Memoirs of an Unregulated Economist札记

 

斯蒂格勒谈社会Memoirs of an Unregulated Economist札记


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