Alfred Marshall on the Social Sciences

From the great economist Alfred Marshall (1842-1924):

Students of social science must fear popular approval…If there is any set of opinions by the advocacy of which a newspaper can increase its sale, then the student who wishes to leave the world in general and his country in particular better than it would be if he had not been born, is bound to dwell on the limitations and defects and errors, if any, in that set of opinions, and never to advocate them unconditionally.

I’d like to engrave that on the minds of all my students.

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About J@m3z Aitch

J@m3z Aitch is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.
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2 Responses to Alfred Marshall on the Social Sciences

  1. drxblog@gmail.com says:

    To bring some further coherence to the advice, hedgehogs get the press, but it appears that foxes are probably right more often. Even chimps seem to do better than hedgehogs.

    http://www.overcomingbias.com/2006/11/foxes_vs_hedgho.html

  2. James Hanley says:

    So do you want to be right, or do you want to be influential? And doesn’t it stink that it so often works out that that’s the choice?

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