Friday, November 11, 2011

Re: Castles in the Sky #3

Some blog followers might be interested “Re: Castles in the Sky #3” [Hake (2011a,b)]. The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: In “Re: Castles in the Sky #2” [Hake (2009)] I wrote:

H.G. Callaway (2009), in his Dewey-L post “Castles in the Sky” referred to an article reporting that Alan Greenspan had defended his record as Fed Chairman and stated that “speculative excess” is inevitable in long periods of prosperity. Callaway then suggested that “the answer to excessive speculation is empiricism and the introduction of a more scientific attitude. . . . .to control the excesses of philosophical speculation and the related tendency toward, let us say, “castles in the sky.”

But philosophers are not the only ones who build “castles in the sky.” The sky-castle building of traditional economists such as Alan Greenspan and Lawrence Summers, who seem to regard the economic system as divorced from the ecosystem, has been roundly criticized by ecological economists such as Herman Daly . . . . .

I think education in Dewey's inquiry mode plus e.g., Daly & Townsend’s (1992) Valuing The Earth: Economics, Ecology, Ethics, and Tim Jackson’s (2009) Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet might help.

Regarding my dissemination of “Re: Castles in the Sky #2,” H.G. Callaway (2011) complained (paraphrasing):

“As for Mr. Hake, ‘me thinks he doth protest too much!’ Search Google for ‘Castles in the Sky’ (perhaps adding my name) to see what Hake did with my theme ‘Castles in the Sky.’ If you can make heads or tails of this flurry of postings, then I would like to see the supposed virtue of the exercise explained.”

Among the virtues of my “flurry of postings” is that the under-appreciated work of ecological economist Herman Daly was brought to the attention of:

a. thousands of discussion-list subscribers,

b. the agriculture community by epidemiologist John Gay (2011) at - see under Gay’s heading “People,”

c. polymath Kirby Urner (2009) whose eclectic response can be accessed at (scroll down).

To access the complete 14 kB post please click on

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Honorary Member, Curmudgeon Lodge of Deventer, The Netherlands
President, PEdants for Definitive Academic References
which Recognize the Invention of the Internet (PEDARRII)

“Nowadays, error in economics must be maintained by complicated mathematics rather than easy logic. Personally, I do not see a brave army of heretics yet emerging from the economics departments across our nation. The curriculum is designed to spot potential heretics early and flunk them out. RENEWAL IS MORE LIKELY TO COME FROM OUTSIDE CHALLENGES TO THE DISCIPLINE. . . . . [[My CAPS.]. . . . Is it reasonable to hope for help from the physical sciences and the humanities? Is it part of the role of each discipline to challenge other disciplines? In the name of truth, beauty, and righteousness, can scientists, humanists, and citizens ask economists if maybe the system is sufficiently imperfect that people really do need to be good? It would be folly to pretend that people are so good that any system will work but is it not also folly to believe that the system can be so perfect that it will really transform private evil into public good? Maybe economics should return to its origins as a part of moral philosophy.”
Herman Daly (2009)

REFERENCES [All URL's shortened by and accessed on 11 Nov 2011.]

Daly, H.E. 2009. “Incorporating Values in a Bottom-Line Ecological Economy,” Bulletin of Science, Technology, & Society 29(5): 349-357; an abstract is online at

Hake, R.R. 2011a. “Re: Castles in the Sky #3” online on the OPEN! Dewey-L archives at Post of 11 Nov 2011 14:25:28-0800 to Dewey-L. The abstract and link to the complete (corrected – see below) post are being transmitted to several discussion lists.

Hake, R.R. 2011b. “Re: Castles in the Sky #3 – ERRATUM” online on the OPEN! Dewey-L archives at Post of 11 Nov 2011 15:06:47-0800 to Dewey-L.

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