Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Ratio Working Papers,
The Ratio Institute

No 141: In Defense of Dwelling in Great Minds: A Few Quotations from Michael Polanyi’s The Study of Man

Daniel B. Klein ()
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Daniel B. Klein: The Ratio Institute, Postal: The Ratio Institute, P.O. Box 3203, SE-103 64 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: It seems like a small and perhaps shrinking minority of economists know reverence of individual figures. Most economists seem to be without heroes, and sometimes disparage reverence as cultish idolatry. Here I collect from Michael Polanyi’s The Study of Man (1959) a few passages that eloquently suggest that “we need reverence to perceive greatness, even as we need a telescope to observe spiral nebulae.” The selection is made in the defense of seeking out and communing with great minds.

Keywords: greatness; reverence; heroes; calling

JEL-codes: A20; B00; B30

5 pages, September 24, 2009

Note: Forthcoming in Society

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