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Mark D. White
New Jersey/New York
I am chair of the Department of Philosophy at the College of Staten Island, where I teach and write in the intersections between philosophy, economics, and law.
Recent Activity
By Mark D. White I'm still working through Elizabeth Berman's Thinking Like an Economist, and I do hope to comment on it eventually. For the time being, though, Idrees Kahloon's review in The New Yorker will suffice (despite the hyperbolic title, which I assume was not his choice). Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Economics and Ethics
By Mark D. White Coming out in June from Routledge is a new book titled The Positive and the Normative in Economic Thought, edited by Agnès Grivaux and Sina Badiei: The book responds to the need for greater clarity regarding the relationship between descriptive, evaluative and prescriptive approaches within positive and normative economics. It also analyses the entanglement between evaluative and prescriptive perspectives within several theoretical frameworks in normative economics such as social choice theory, the capability approach, behavioural welfare economics and various theories of justice. It provides a forum for discussion between various schools of economic thought and several... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Economics and Ethics
By Mark D. White Thanks to Christian Munthe, we have a fantastic announcement for postdocs in economic and environmental ethics at the University of Gothenburg. From the posting: The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 56 000 students and 6 600 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract scientists and students from around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future. The University of Gothenburg is looking to hire one or more 2-year post docs in the... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2022 at Economics and Ethics
By Mark D. White In the open-access special issue of the journal Filozofia Nauki (The Philosophy of Science) with the theme "Philosophy of Economics" (guest-edited by Łukasz Hardt and Marcin Poręba), Tomasz Kwarciński and Krzysztof M. Turek (Cracow University of Economics) ask the question, "Can Normative Economics Be Convincing without the Notion of Well-Being?" From the abstract: In this article, we examine the notion of well-being in light of the relationship between positive and normative economics. Having identified four interrelationships between possible theoretical developments within the two fields, we propose a framework for the analysis of normative economic theories. The... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2022 at Economics and Ethics
By Mark D. White Forthcoming in Politics, Philosophy & Economics but currently available online (and open access) is "The Puzzle of Competitive Fairness" by Oisin Suttle (Maynooth University), exploring common intuitions about the concept of fairness as it applies to markets. (I find this very welcome, as the vague use of this concept in economics was one of the frustrations that drew me into economics-and-ethics in the first place.) From the abstract: There is a sense of fairness that is distinctive of markets. This is fairness among economic competitors, competitive fairness. We regularly make judgments of competitive fairness about market... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2022 at Economics and Ethics
By Mark D. White Forthcoming in the Journal of Economic Methodology, currently available online (and open access), is a paper from Don Ross (University College Cork) titled "Economics Is Converging with Sociology but not with Psychology." The abstract is as follows: The rise of behavioral economics since the 1980s led to richer mutual influence between economic and psychological theory and experimentation. However, as behavioral economics has become increasingly integrated into the main stream in economics, and as psychology has remained damagingly methodologically conservative, this convergence has recently gone into reverse. At the same time, growing appreciation among economists of the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2022 at Economics and Ethics
At my school, we will promote tenure-track faculty to associate professor before tenure if they came in with several years experience elsewhere and, based on that, they achieve a level of scholarly output commensurate with promotion to associate. (Two current members of the philosophy department received pre-tenure promotion this way.)
Being online so much finally paid off: I saw the announcement of the IMAX preview of The Batman just it was announced about a month ago, and was able to snag tickets for me and my son before it sold out (apparently within minutes). Last night we saw it, and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2022 at The Comics Professor
By Mark D. White Coming in April 2022 from Oxford University Press is Community Economies in the Global South, edited by Caroline Shenaz Hossein (University of Toronto Scarborough) and Christabell P.J. (Kerala University). From the publisher's website: People across the globe engage in social and solidarity economics to help themselves, their community, and society on their own terms. Community Economies in the Global South examines how people who conscientiously organize rotating savings and credit associations (ROSCAs) bring positive changes to their own lives as well as others. ROSCAs are a long-established and well documented practice, especially those organized by women... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2022 at Economics and Ethics
Guest post by Wilfred Dolfsma and Ioana Negru Comes the next economic crisis, comes the next call for economics to become both more realistic and to be more ethical. While the two are related, in The Ethical Formation of Economists (Dolfsma and Negru 2019) we focus on the vexing issue of the way in which ethics and economics relate: Why is the call not answered? Many, especially heterodox economists, blame economic theory: It does not have conceptual space for ethics. This is a call for ethics in economics (Figure 1). That, in some way, is correct, but in a strict... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2022 at Economics and Ethics
By Mark D. White Out this summer from Routledge is Moral Discourse in the History of Economic Thought by Laurent Dobuzinskis (Simon Fraser University). From the publisher's website: Providing an account of the development of economic thought, this book explores the extent to which economic ideas are rooted in moral values. Adopting an approach rooted in ‘pragmatism’, the work explores key questions which have been considered by economists since the classical political economists. These include: what degree of priority ought to be granted to property rights among all individual liberties; whether uncertainties in economic life justify investing political authorities with... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2022 at Economics and Ethics
By Mark D. White In the latest issue of the Journal of Political Philosophy (30/1, March 2022) is an open-access survey article by Stijn Neuteleers (Open University, The Netherlands) titled "Trading Nature: When Are Environmental Markets (Un)desirable?" From the introduction: This article will discuss two new environmental markets in particular: carbon markets and biodiversity offsetting. It has an applied and a general goal. The applied goal is straightforward: examining the respective moral desirability of these two markets. The broader goal is to use these two cases to review the main arguments for and against environmental markets and to offer more... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2022 at Economics and Ethics
By Mark D. White Available for free download until February 18, 2022, is a new Cambridge Element from Chrisoula Andreou (University of Utah) titled Commitment and Resoluteness in Rational Choice. From her introduction: Commitment is quite commonplace and, seemingly, quite significant, since it treats certain options as “off the table.” My commitment to teaching my class this morning requires me to close off or put aside the possibility of doing some weight training instead. And my commitment to certain healthy eating practices requires me to close off or put aside the possibility of bringing a box of Twinkies as my... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2022 at Economics and Ethics
By Mark D. White A new issue of the Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics was recently published (open-access), and as usual it contains quite a few articles of interest to this blog. The entire table of contents can be found at the link above, so here I'll simply point out the opening three articles... "Choosing Less over More Money The Love of Praiseworthiness and the Dread of Blameworthiness in One-Player Games" by Nina Serdarevic "Social Contract, Extended Goodness, and Moral Disagreement," by Cyril Hédoin "Integrated Moral Agency and the Practical Phenomenon of Moral Diversity," by Michael Moehler well... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2022 at Economics and Ethics
By Mark D. White Courtesy of Peter Galbács' blog, we have an intriguing announcement—note the deadline for submissions is April 23, 2022. ~ ~~ ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~ ~~ ~ Call for a Symposium on the Economists’ Philosophy Day, 17 Nov. 2022 In October 2005, the UNESCO General Conference proclaimed the third Thursday of November every year “World Philosophy Day” recalling that “philosophy is a discipline that encourages critical and independent thought and is capable of working towards a better understanding of the world and promoting tolerance and peace.” It is in this spirit that J Phil Econ proposes... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2022 at Economics and Ethics
By Mark D. White The Association for Social Economics has released the call for papers, courtesy of president-elect Darrick Hamilton, for its sessions at next January's ASSA meeting in New Orleans. The details are below; note that the deadline for submissions is May 6. ASE at the ASSA 2023 The Inseparability of Economics, Politics and Social Stratification in Understanding Moral Political Economy January 6-8, 2023 New Orleans, LA - Hilton Riverside The framing of economics as a “science,” presents the innuendo of a purity devoid of politics. Yet, from Marxist to Public Choice ideologies, economics, politics and social stratification (as... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2022 at Economics and Ethics
Captain America is in a weird spot these days, and it has nothing to do with the Red Skull or Hydra. (At least, not that we know.) Since Ta-Nehisi Coates' run on Captain America ended in July 2020, the Sentinel of Liberty has been without an ongoing monthly title. (UPDATE:... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2022 at The Comics Professor
At the end of this dizzying year, and on the occasion of my fiftieth birthday, I offer my reflections on the last twelve months in terms of work—reflections that, to quote Rick Blaine, "don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world," where matters of much greater importance... Continue reading
Posted Dec 28, 2021 at Mark D. White
SPOILERS FOR SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME BELOW! SO MANY SPOILERS! My son and I saw the new Spider-Man film yesterday afternoon in a large theater with about twenty other people—which was a Christmas miracle, given how most showings sold out over opening weekend and our hesitation to see it amongst... Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2021 at The Comics Professor
By Mark D. White Forthcoming in Law and Society Review is David Gindis' review of Susanna Kim Ripken's book Corporate Personhood, both of which emphasize the complexity of the concept itself, wrapped up as it is in economics and ethics as well as law, political science, and sociology. From Gindis' abstract: Susanna Ripken is an astute and fair-minded observer of today's corporate personality controversy. The premise of her impressive book is that the corporate personhood puzzle is as complicated as it is vexing because corporate personhood is inherently multidimensional, in a way that mirrors the fact that the corporation is... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2021 at Economics and Ethics
I'm very pleased to announce my next book, A Philosopher Reads... Marvel Comics' Thor: If They Be Worthy, coming out next year from Ockham Publishing ahead of the highly anticipated film Thor: Love and Thunder. (Information about pricing and pre-ordering are coming soon.) UPDATE: It's now available. From the publisher... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2021 at The Comics Professor
By Mark D. White In the inaugural issue of The Raven, a literary philosophy magazine*, Lisa Herzog (University of Groningen) combines academic expertise and personal history to scrutinize knowledge-based arguments for the market in "The Epistemic Seduction of Markets." From the end of her introduction: I have concluded that the epistemic argument for markets needs to be heavily qualified, if not put on its head: it is not an argument for “free” markets but for the careful regulation of markets. The “invisible hand” can only, if ever, do its work on material that has been diligently prepared, and continues to... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2021 at Economics and Ethics
By Mark D. White An article forthcoming in the European Journal for Philosophy of Science by Anna Alexandrova and Mark Fabian, titled "Democratising Measurement: or Why Thick Concepts Call for Coproduction," discusses the issues that thick concepts, those that involve both description and evaluation, pose for the sciences, using well-being as an example, and proposes a novel way to recognize both aspects. From the abstract: Thick concepts, namely those concepts that describe and evaluate simultaneously, present a challenge to science. Since science does not have a monopoly on value judgments, what is responsible research involving such concepts? Using measurement of... Continue reading
Posted Dec 13, 2021 at Economics and Ethics
SPOILERS FOR DEVIL'S REIGN #1 BELOW! In last week's Devil's Reign #1, the first installment in the Daredevil-centered Marvel Comics event by writer Chip Zdarsky, artist Marco Checchetto, and colorist Marcio Menyz, Wilson Fisk—better known as the Kingpin, and currently the Mayor of New York—has enacted a citywide ban on... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2021 at The Comics Professor
By Mark D. White A new working paper from Herrade Igersheim (BETA, University of Strasbourg, CNRS, University of Lorraine) titled "Rawls and the Economists: The (Im)possible Dialogue" offers a unique perspective on the relationship between the great philosopher and the field that would adopt his thinking. From the abstract: Although falling within the scope of political and moral philosophy, it is well known that A Theory of Justice has also had a great impact on economists. As such, Rawls put great emphasis on his desire to combine economics and philosophy, and particularly to deal with rational choice theory, notably and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2021 at Economics and Ethics