Gary Saul Morson & Morton Schapiro - Cents and Sensibility: The Marriage Between Economics and Literature
unSILOed with Greg LaBlanc
What are the benefits of interdisciplinary research for educators in terms of gaining a deeper understanding of the larger issues that affect their field? The noted literary critic Gary Saul Morson and leading economist Morton Schapiro discuss how humanities, especially literature, offer economists ways to make their models more human, their predictions more accurate, and their policies more effective and fair. Their book Cents and Sensibilities provided critical insights and lessons during this episode. The discussion explored ways the study of literature helps people gain new insights into truth, right and wrong through literary characters. In addition, they provide some insights into how economists and other scientific disciplines can express the context of their work more effectively by following the same approach.Listen to the exciting conversations they have with host Greg LaBlanc about why students aren't exposed to literature in meaningful ways before entering a university. An even more captivating discussion was held on funding humanities as a discipline and its effect on students' career prospects.You won't want to miss the remainder of the episode as they explore how economics is evolving, how science co-exists with the humanities, and what makes literature so special that it helps develop empathy. Episode Quotes:Does interdisciplinary work really require understanding where one discipline ends and begins?"If you look at the paperback of Cents and Sensibility, we lead off with the results of a survey that we hadn't been aware of until one of the reviews came out, and it had asked people in different disciplines. These are professors in the United States. Is there anything to learn from fields other than your own? And you know, 79% of psychology professors said, sure, there is. I'm shocked that it wasn't 95. But anyway, 73% of sociologists and, you know, as soon as generally among the social scientists, 70 to 80% said, yes. There was one notable outlier, and that was only 42% of economists said there was anything they can learn from other fields [...] And it really is about intellectual humility, dialogue, and getting out of your, away from your echo chambers and doing better work by being more open to what you can learn from other fields." —Morton Schapiro"Yeah, we were trying to distinguish real interdisciplinarity from something that is sometimes mistaken for it. That a discipline is not just a subject matter, it's a way of seeing the world, defining certain questions as interesting and specifying, what kind of evidence would count and what assumptions are made when you start out. That's a whole different worldview. And what we're trying to suggest is that something can be learned when two different disciplines and needs of two different ways of seeing things examine the same subject matter and can profit from each other's shortcomings." —Gary Saul MorsonIs economics too watered down to a point where it's no longer objectionable and is applied to all human behavior? Or is it necessary to make claims that are challenging?"What I'm saying is that what I love about the field of economics is we do our analysis, and we do our mathematical models, and we see how it comes out. We don't write the conclusion before we do our analysis. There's always a temptation to do that.." —Morton Schapiro"To contrast that with the limitations of my own field, I have never seen an article in literary criticism that reported I had this hypothesis, but I investigated, and the evidence didn't bear it out. You have an idea, and you don't test it; you illustrate it. What's always struck me as very familiar. Any theory, any idiotic theory, can be illustrated. The test of a theory is not the evidence, but the counter-evidence" —Gary Saul MorsonWhy aren't students exposed to literature in meaningful ways, even before they're at university?"I asked them (the students) how they've taught literature in secondary school. I always get three answers in descending frequency. The most frequent is that they've been taught as a kind of technical exercise. The second most common way is to start with the presumption that our values of our social class today. You can't learn that you're correct. And everyone else is wrong.So again, there's no reason to read it. So each of these methods leaves the student with a sense that reading literature is uninteresting, none of them." —Gary Saul MorsonWhy should the government invest in education, faculty, research, and literature when it's not going to produce people who can go out and get jobs?I'll tell you, and it's really overblown in the media that people with humanities degrees are lost in the labor force. I think if done right. They learn how to learn. They learn how to communicate, and that's probably why their earnings are much higher than people would expect, but it takes a number of years. —Morton Schapiro"Why should the state legislature support pure mathematics, which has no application? Areas of physics that will never be used? That's an equivalent question. If knowledge is valuable in itself, it will have an indirect effect. A culture where people understand each other, empathize with each other, see things from different points of view, which is what literature would teach. It's not going to wind up with people hating anybody who differs from them. That's what literature should do, and we badly need it right now." —Gary Saul MorsonWhat is so special about literature it helps build empathy?"We mentioned something similar in the book, trying to get out of your own self, trying to truly understand what it's like to be a different gender, sexuality, sexual expression, race, ethnicity. And I think I would say, most importantly, a different sense of right and wrong. I happened to be observant too. There's a certain view that's informed by my weekly study of the Hebrew Bible, but I love reading great fiction. Where somebody has a very different view of morality from mine, and it helps me understand why I believe certain things, and maybe I should believe other things. And I don't think anything is better than fiction." —Morton Schapiro"People think of what you do when you read a great novel, you identify with a character. The author gets you to see the world from the heroine's perspective. You understand how she's making the decision, what she's thinking, what you can't do with people in real life. You can't trace their thoughts and feelings. You understand all the things that are not said. The person is thinking [...], and you do this for hundreds and hundreds of pages, and you make a habit when you do it with several different people with different points of view." —Gary Saul MorsonShow Links:About Gary Saul MorsonGary's Profile at Northwestern UniversityGary's Profile on the American ScholarGary on LinkedInAbout Morton SchapiroMorton's Profile at Northwestern UniversityTheir Work:Cents and Sensibility: What Economics Can Learn from the HumanitiesMinds Wide Shut: How the New Fundamentalisms Divide UsThe Fabulous Future?: America and the World in 2040
Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro, "Minds Wide Shut How the New Fundamentalisms Divide Us" (Princeton UP, 2021)
New Books in Political Science
Two very thoughtful oddfellows--a labor economist and a Russian literature scholar--take on the world's problems in their newest collaboration, Minds Wide Shut How the New Fundamentalisms Divide Us (Princeton University Press, 2021). Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro bring to bear the remarkably powerful tool of great 19th century Realist literature (and other parts of the Western canon) to define and counter the all-or-nothing fundamentalisms that have come to divide us in recent years. They touch upon politics, religion and economics, as well as great literature itself, and advocate bridging the divides with assertion and dialogue rather than the crude dismissal of opponents based upon absolute, unyielding assumptions.Daniel Peris is Senior Vice President at Federated Hermes in Pittsburgh. He can be reached at DanielxPeris@gmail.com or via Twitter @HistoryInvestor. His History and Investing blog and Keep Calm & Carry On Investing podcast are at https://strategicdividendinvestor.com/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/political-science
Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro, "Minds Wide Shut How the New Fundamentalisms Divide Us" (Princeton UP, 2021)
New Books in Education
Two very thoughtful oddfellows--a labor economist and a Russian literature scholar--take on the world's problems in their newest collaboration, Minds Wide Shut How the New Fundamentalisms Divide Us (Princeton University Press, 2021). Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro bring to bear the remarkably powerful tool of great 19th century Realist literature (and other parts of the Western canon) to define and counter the all-or-nothing fundamentalisms that have come to divide us in recent years. They touch upon politics, religion and economics, as well as great literature itself, and advocate bridging the divides with assertion and dialogue rather than the crude dismissal of opponents based upon absolute, unyielding assumptions.Daniel Peris is Senior Vice President at Federated Hermes in Pittsburgh. He can be reached at DanielxPeris@gmail.com or via Twitter @HistoryInvestor. His History and Investing blog and Keep Calm & Carry On Investing podcast are at https://strategicdividendinvestor.com/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/education
Prof. Morton Schapiro, President of Northwestern University and Prof. Gary Morson, Professor of the Arts and Humanities at Northwestern
Scientific Sense ®
Minds Wide Shut: How the New Fundamentalisms Divide Us Prof. Morton Schapiro is the President of Northwestern University and a Professor of Economics at Northwestern and Prof. Gary Morson is Professor of the Arts and Humanities at Northwestern--- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/scientificsense/message
NU Declassified: University President Morton Schapiro talks with The Daily
HEENA SRIVASTAVA: The Daily Northwestern recently sat down with Northwestern President Morton Schapiro, affectionately known as Morty. We talked about legacy admissions: MORTON SCHAPIRO: I’m happy with the way we do Undergraduate Admissions. HEENA SRIVASTAVA: Divestment: MORTON SCHAPIRO: If you go back to The Daily a number of years ago, you might find something about... The post NU Declassified: University President Morton Schapiro talks with The Daily appeared first on The Daily Northwestern.
NU Declassified: President Morton Schapiro talks with The Daily
The Daily Northwestern Podcasts
“I'm happy with the way we do Undergraduate Admissions. By any measure over my 11 years, the diversity of the undergraduate student body is skyrocketing.” On the latest episode of NU Declassified, hear President Morton Schapiro on legacy admissions (1:00), divestment (6:34), and plans to bring back the skating rink (5:29).https://dailynorthwestern.com/2020/03/06/multimedia/president-morton-schapiro-talks-with-the-daily/
Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro is no stranger to the world. Having served as the President of Williams College for nine years, and now serving as the President of a top ten university, he has been in the public eye for some time and has received both praise and scrutiny. In this fascinating discussion with Nolan, discover the side of Morton Schapiro that you may not know. In explaining the profound relationship he has with his faith, his friends, and his family, there is more to President Schapiro than his trade of being President.
Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro, “Cents and Sensibility: What Economics Can Learn from the Humanities” (Princeton UP, 2017)
New Books in Politics & Society
The vast chasm between classical economics and the humanities is widely known and accepted. They are profoundly different disciplines with little to say to one another. Such is the accepted wisdom. Fortunately, Professors Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro, both of Northwestern University, disagree. In their new book, Cents and...
The Fabulous Future with Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro
In 1956, an influential group of leaders published The Fabulous Future: America in 1980, in which they attempted to project how various aspects of life might look in 25 years or so. Some of it they got right, some of it wrong. It’s a noble task and an interesting concept for which editors might gather the opinions of leaders in their fields. Our friend Gary Saul Morson and his colleague (and Northwestern University President) Morton Schapiro have rebooted this concept for their new book, The Fabulous Future? America in 2040. Drawing on prognosticators of religion, technology, politics, medicine and more, this book paints a possible picture of what we may face in the next 25 years. A great effort by two fine minds.