Science and Moral Life   /   Spring 2013   /    Essays


Albert O. Hirschman

We authors are touchy and insatiable for praise. When a reader sincerely wishes to show admiration and declares, “I liked your book a lot,” are we not slightly offended and do we not feel like asking, “Which one?”—meaning in effect:

“And what about the others?” Similarly, when I am complimented by a reader for my antitheoret- ical posture, that is for my critique of the “Search for Paradigms,” or of the “Quest for Parsimony” in economic or social science theory, I tend to be once again ungracious and am liable to rebuff the tribute by exclaiming: “I am not, you know, all that much set against paradigms or theorizing.”

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