WhyTo: Foster anarchy in research and teaching

A piece in EPW Vela Velupillai writes (Unfortunately, EPW does not allow one to give the exact URL to the piece):

In this paper I attempt to make a case for anarchy in research against the current practice of picking winners in universities at advanced levels of education and research. By considering a paradigmatic example of freedom in speculative intellectual activities leading to unintended consequences of enormous benefit to mankind, I try to substantiate a case for this. The example I consider is the way issues in the foundations of mathematics paved the way for what came to be known as the it revolution. It is a counter-factual narrative and may – hopefully, will – provide an antidote to the current orthodoxy’s regimented non-vision of “picking winners”, ex ante, without any historical substantiation.

While you are at it, a piece on Periyar’s views on science from the same issue might also be of interest.

Update: These lines from Velupillai’s piece are too tempting to be not quoted:

…I continued to learn from [Goodwin], both in the substance of economic theory …. and in a more subtle way that I do not know how to describe except as a matter of intellectual style. The unspoken language was that if a thing is worth doing it is worth doing playfully. Do not misunderstand me: ‘playful’ does not mean ‘frivolous’ or ‘unserious’. It means, rather, that one should follow a trail the way a puppy does, sniffing the ground, wagging one’s tail, and barking a lot, because it smells interesting and it would be fun to see where it goes.

Have fun!


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