About Rationally Speaking
Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Podcast Teasers: Joseph Heath on Economics Without Illusions and the debate over naturalism
Rationally Speaking podcast will be Joseph Heath, author of “Economics Without Illusions: Debunking the Myths of Modern Capitalism,” which means that Julia and I are going to turn our skeptical eyes toward the treacherous dual terrain of economics and politics. You can guess where we’ll be going by perusing the book’s description:
Every day economic claims are used by the media or in conversation to support social and political positions. Those on the left tend to distrust economists, seeing them as friends of the right. There is something to this, since professional economists are almost all keen supporters of the free market. Yet while factions on the right naturally embrace economists, they also tend to overestimate the effect of their support on free-market policies. The result is widespread confusion. In fact, virtually all commonly held beliefs about economics — whether espoused by political activists, politicians, journalists or taxpayers — are just plain wrong.
Joseph Heath wants to raise our economic literacy and empower us with new ideas. In Economics Without Illusions, he draws on everyday examples to skewer the six favorite economic fallacies of the right, followed by impaling the six favorite fallacies of the left. Heath leaves no sacred cows untipped as he breaks down complex arguments and shows how the world really works.
As for our second topic, we’ll take on naturalism and his (reasonable) critics. The starting point for the discussion is a recent exchange in the New York Times between Alex Rosenberg and William Egginton. As it happens, I’m also reviewing (and, so far, not liking at all) Rosenberg’s new book, The Atheist's Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions. Much to talk about, I’m sure.