The Idea of Economics in a University
Relying on John Henry Newman’s Idea of a University, this paper explores the relation between economics and other disciplines. Newman had high regard for disciplinary specialization, which he thought would teach students and scholars how to think and would keep them intellectually honest. At the same time, he insisted that the learning and exploring of a science had to take place within a university, that is, with proper regard to the science’s place among other disciplines. This paper contributes to the debate on the proper way to do economics by applying to it Newman’s ideas, arguing that it is at its best when faithful to its own character, as long as it seeks out the contributions and the corrections of other disciplines. Indeed, because economics focuses on order, principle, and method, and because it provides a “connected view or grasp of things,” it can contribute to the cultivation of the philosophical habit of mind.
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