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Freedom, Anarchy and Conformism in Academic Research

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  • K. Vela Velupillai

Abstract

In this paper I attempt to make a case for promoting the courage of rebels within the citadels of orthodoxy in academic research environments. Wicksell in Macroeconomics, Brouwer in the Foundations of Mathematics, Turing in Computability Theory, Sraffa in the Theories of Value and Distribution are, in my own fields of research, paradigmatic examples of rebels, adventurers and non-conformists of the highest caliber in scientific research within University environments. In what sense, and how, can such rebels, adventurers and non-conformists be fostered in the current University research environment dominated by the cult of 'picking winners'? This is the motivational question lying behind the historical outlines of the work of Brouwer, Hilbert, Bishop, Veronese, Gödel, Turing and Sraffa that I describe in this paper. The debate between freedom in research and teaching, and the naked imposition of 'correct' thinking, on potential dissenters of the mind, is of serious concern in this age of austerity of material facilities. It is a debate that has occupied some of the finest minds working at the deepest levels of foundational issues in mathematics, metamathematics and economic theory. By making some of the issues explicit, I hope it is possible to encourage dissenters to remain courageous in the face of current dogmas

Suggested Citation

  • K. Vela Velupillai, 2011. "Freedom, Anarchy and Conformism in Academic Research," ASSRU Discussion Papers 1123, ASSRU - Algorithmic Social Science Research Unit.
  • Handle: RePEc:trn:utwpas:1123
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    File URL: http://www.assru.economia.unitn.it/files/DP_11_2011_II.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Smale, Stephen, 1976. "Dynamics in General Equilibrium Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 288-294, May.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Non-conformism in academia
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-11-15 21:56:00
    2. Weekly Roundup 152: A Curated Linkfest For The Smartest People On The Web!
      by Miguel in Simoleon Sense on 2011-11-07 00:42:02

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    Cited by:

    1. Guglielmo Chiodi, 2012. "On Richard Goodwin’s Elementary Economics from the Higher Standpoint," ASSRU Discussion Papers 1219, ASSRU - Algorithmic Social Science Research Unit.
    2. K. Vela Velupillai, 2011. "The Fundamental Theorems of Welfare Economics, DSGE and the Theory of Policy - Computable & Constructive Foundations," ASSRU Discussion Papers 1125, ASSRU - Algorithmic Social Science Research Unit.
    3. K. Vela Velupillai, 2012. "Bourbaki's Destructive Influence on the Mathematization of Economics," ASSRU Discussion Papers 1201, ASSRU - Algorithmic Social Science Research Unit.
    4. K. Vela Velupillai & Stefano Zambelli, 2012. "Computability and Algorithmic Complexity in Economics," ASSRU Discussion Papers 1202, ASSRU - Algorithmic Social Science Research Unit.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Non-conformist research; economic theory; mathematical economics; 'Hilbert's Dogma'; Hilbert's Program; computability theory;

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