A holistic view as a school project


Rosemarie Nagel: The rational man as a tuning fork

(Found Poetry), earlier version published in Nagel, R., A. Bayona, R. Kheirandish, and S. Mousavi (2016). Reinhard Selten, the Dualist. Routledge Handbook of Behavioral Economics, edited by R. Frantz, S.H. Chen, K. Dopfer, F. Heukelom, S. Mousavi


Comment to the "Tuning Fork" poem

Dear Rosemarie:
I am sorry that it took me a year to read "Rational man as tuning fork".  I put it aside in hope of getting more time to think about it a few days later, and then only found it again in the bottom of the in-box now.
Yes, it was great walking across the landscape and history of Jerusalem that day!  On infinite skyscrapers: I think that I was assimilating the possibility of an infinite skyscraper as a metaphor for the human mind, and I would have used the phrase "my mind" then only because that's the only mind that I can fully inspect, being unable to directly observe what's inside anybody else's mind.)
And I agree that it can be very valuable to shift our focus sometimes from economic theory to another deep perspective like philosophy. I like your arc from the purity of a tuning fork to the need to actually experiment!
But what struck me most was that, when you tried expressing your economics questions in this alternative literary form, you found yourself driven to add footnotes and an epilogue. I had an almost isomorphic experience in the 1990s when I decided to try writing on questions of social theory in the form of religious myths.  I probably showed this to you at some point. I read all this stuff about how the Bible was written and wanted to try writing something like a strand that could have gone into the book of Genesis. After writing and polishing it late nights before for a couple of years, I finished something that pleased me, and it's still on the web at <https://home.uchicago.edu/~rmyerson/jashar.htm>.
But notice, after I wrote the basic text in six short sections, I found myself driven to write a "commentary" that was much longer to explain the whole thing, and then I felt compelled to add an apology after all that.  I feel sure that your evolution from basic text to much longer footnotes and then epilogue was driven by the same need, first to decode the alternative code, and then acknowledge the oddness of the whole exercise when people expect us to stay within one standard discipline.
One other work that actually succeeds in combining the economic perspective with a literary or humanities perspective is Morton Shapiro and Gary Saul Morson's "Cents and Sensibility."

Roger Myerson

Date of Publication: September 2019.