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Alan Nelson

Interesting stuff! Some random comments:

It is easy to imagine analogous complaints about the use of modern logical techniques in the early 20th century. ["Why can't Russell explain the difference between internal/external negation without all that technical apparatus?"] And the natural reply is the same one Samuelson must have made to Stigler--Why not learn some logic/math?
And that is exactly what happened. Virtually every grad program in Phil has an intro logic requirement and in Econ most grad programs have some math techniques courses for first year students.

The Becker "reformulation" of consumer theory is clever and interesting. But isn't the stated motivation quite wrong? Just as "tastes" can be adjusted to cover unexpected outcomes, internal utility production functions (or whatever) can also be adjusted post hoc. (Or so I suggested in an old paper).

Eric Schliesser

Yes, by the time Stigler reviewed the book that process was already in full swing. Today I happen to be reading "How Foundations came to be" by Samuelson, Journal of Economic Literature, 1998. It's autobiographical so can't be fully trusted, but he recounts the people and geographic distribution involved in early reading groups on Foundations. (The early and quick uptake is really astounding.) These, in turn, started to demand a curriculum that could prepare students.

Yes, you were right in that paper, Alan. I keep hoping that I can tempt yo 'back' into philosophy of economics!

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