14.4.06

THINKING FOR YOURSELF.

A post by Arnold at Econ Log provokes a bull session on the merits of economics, or philosophy, or math, as a jumping off place for learning critical thinking (in the sense of identifying the unstated premises or biases, not the cheap version of proposing the opposite of whatever the current powers that be are doing.) The post and thread are worth a look for their own sake, but a comment to this post links to an E. E. Leamer review of Thomas Frank's The World is Flat. Professor Leamer was commissioned by Journal of Economic Literature, and his review is somewhat longer than my entry in the 2005 50 Book Challenge. (Alex at Marginal Revolution and Brad DeLong have also recommended the Leamer review.)

Professor Leamer reflects on economic modelling of a flat earth, including Thu¨nen rings and Lo¨schian hexagons. Takes me back. I was silly enough to keep pursuing research on these topics for a Ph.D. while Professor Leamer moved to theories of inference and Professor Krugman decided to join forces with some solid regional scientists to work on suburbanization (another book in the stack.)

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