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April 27, 2008

Comments

Bob B

"the founders of modern neoclassical economics"

Doesn't JR Hicks, author of "Value and Capital" and the LM-IS model, merit a place among the illuminati? What of Abba Lerner, whom even Paul Samuelson used to tip an occasional hat to?

kinglear

I think the problem is, if you want to be an intellectual,and search for truth, in a sense you have to keep away from public life. It taints and twists - even if you are not responsible for it, where you touch is rather like the grit in the oyster. ( I know it produces something lovely in thsi case, but only as a defence)

Shuggy

Public intellectuals? What they really mean is celebrity intellectuals. The ones that will come to the top will be the ones that are currently most celebrated. Rather a circular, pointless exercise really.

Larry Teabag

Shuggy, it's not even clear that they mean that.

"Pope Benedict is a leading theologian and a staunch defender of Catholic traditions and values"

No, surely not.

gracchi

I agree Chris. Its a bit odd- and really its the intellectual part of it that I have a problem with. I don't think we should be too hostile to popularisers- like say Simon Schama the historian- but its just that they often aren't the most interesting intellectuals working at the moment. The thing I object to is that popularisers ought to be a bridge to get to the more difficult and serious stuff- but at the moment there seems to be an inclination to stop with Schama or Starkey- its something supported by the cult of TV etc.

ortega

One becomes a public intellectual when speaking about something that is not his own field and is listened to.
When Samuelson speaks about economics, he is not an intellectual, he is an economist (of course, in a broader sense, all economists are intellectuals). But if he were to speak about civil liberties, religion or the right color for the new town hall he would be acting as an intelectual: someone we listen to when speaking about something he knows about like everybody else.

paul ilc

Is not the idea of "public intellectuals" rather un-British, sitting uneasily with the sceptical attitude of educated people on our island? "Public intellectuals" on the continent tend to be ideologically committed, usually to some half-baked Marxism. If I had to name three British "public intellectuals", I'd nominate Roger Scruton, Bertrand Russell and J S Mill...

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