Mirowski, Philip 1951-
Mirowski, Philip 1951-
Born August 21, 1951, in Jackson, MI; son of Edward and Elizabeth Mirowski. Education: Michigan State University, B.A., 1973; University of Michigan, M.A., 1973, Ph.D., 1979.
Office—University of Notre Dame, 400 Decio Faculty Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556. E-mail—[email protected]
University of Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA, assistant professor, 1978-1981; Tufts University, Medford, MA, assistant professor, 1981-84, associate professor of economics, 1984-1990; University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, Carl Koch Professor of Economics and the History and Philosophy of Science, 1990—. Visiting professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1984-85; Yale University, New Haven, CT, 1987-88; Tinbergen Institute, University of Amsterdam, and Erasmus University, all Holland, 1991; University of Modena, Italy, 1998; University of Trento, Italy, 2000; Sorbonne, University of Paris, Paris, France; and University of Aix-Marseilles, Marseilles, France, 2001.
International Economics and Philosophy Society, History of Economics Association (executive committee, 1996-98; vice president, 1999), American Economics Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, History of Science Society, European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy, Society for the Social Studies of Science, Society for Computational Economics.
National Institute of Health fellowship, 1974-77; National Endowment for the Humanities grant, 1987-89; National Science Foundation award, 1997; Fulbright fellowship, 2003.
The Birth of the Business Cycle, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1985.
(Editor) The Reconstruction of Economic Theory, Kluwer Nijhoff Publishing (Boston, MA), 1986.
Against Mechanism: Protecting Economics from Science, Rowman & Littlefield (Totowa, NJ), 1988.
(Editor) Edgeworth on Chance, Economic Hazard, and Statistics, Rowman & Littlefield (Lanham, MD), 1994.
(Editor and contributor) Natural Images in Economic Thought: "Markets Read in Tooth and Claw," Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1994.
(Editor) The Economic Writings of William Thornton, five volumes, Pickering & Chatto (London, England), 1999.
(Editor, with Esther-Mirjam Sent) Science Bought and Sold: Essays in the Economics of Science, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2002.
Machine Dreams: Economics Becomes a Cyborg Science, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2002.
The Effortless Economy of Science?, Duke University Press (Durham, NC), 2004.
Economist Philip Mirowski is the author or editor of volumes that include Edgeworth on Chance, Economic Hazard, and Statistics, a selection of the work of Francis Ysidro Edgeworth (1845-1926). Edgeworth was a humanist and lawyer who then learned mathematics and became a statistician and economist. Mirowski is editor of this collection, which contains the writings most relevant to Edgeworth's emphasis on probability and statistics. Included is Edgeworth's 1887 pamphlet Metretike, or the Method of Measuring Probability and Utility. In reviewing the volume in the Journal of the American Statistical Association, Stephen M. Stigler noted that some of Edgeworth's most important works are not included, in keeping with Mirowski's concentration on his main theme. Of those included, some essays have been edited, "in some cases drastically." Although the critic found what he considered to be other flaws in the book, Stigler concluded: "Mirowski is a genuinely thoughtful and provocative writer from whom any reader can benefit, and his selection from Edgeworth is a nice sampling of the work of a really first-rate mind exploring problems that still confront us."
Mirowski also edited Natural Images in Economic Thought: "Markets Read in Tooth and Claw," a collection of twenty papers from a conference held at the University of Notre Dame in 1991. As a contributor, too, he begins the first section by addressing the relationship between "the Natural" and "the Social." Warren J. Samuels and Jouni Paavola wrote in the Review of Social Economy: "Mirowski identifies four metanarratives that depict the relations of the natural and the social operative in economics and in the history of economic thought. First, the natural and the social may be perceived as identical in one or other respect. Second, the natural and the social can be understood to be disjunct but individually law-like in some respects. Third, the natural can be conceived of as objectively stable while the social patterned on it is perceived to be unstable. Fourth and finally, the natural and the social can both be understood as unstable, jointly constructed and mutually supportive."
The second section studies physical metaphors and mathematical formalization. One of the focuses of part three connects problematical mechanical and biological images of circulation in the Victorian money market to economic difficulties of the period. Part four is a consideration of biological metaphors. Samuels and Paavola noted that part five contains four essays, including one by Mirowski titled "The Realms of the Natural," in which he "argues for and presents evidence of the existence and importance of the quest for a sense of order. This quest leads people to adopt and to create images that impose order, whether or not what the images lead us to understand is ‘really out there’—this is the psychic balm function of science, art and religion, according to Shackle." Samuels and Paavola continued: "Mirowski's next main argument, paralleling that of Bruno Latour … is that the Natural and the Social have been and still are continuously negotiated. He holds that this takes place especially when the taken-for-granted categories are questioned by catastrophic accidents, disasters or the occurrence of otherwise unusual phenomena, for example."
Mirowski and Esther-Mirjam Sent edited Science Bought and Sold: Essays in the Economics of Science, a collection of previously published papers, as well as original articles, that emphasize the economic perspectives of science. The papers focus on twentieth-century science case studies and examine issues that include economic welfare. The volume is intended for economists, scientists, and scholars of the history and philosophy of science and science studies.
The title of Mirowski's Machine Dreams: Economics Becomes a Cyborg Science includes a term first coined by Donna Hathaway in 1991, which was her name for the sciences previously called information science. Economic Record reviewer Dave Taylor wrote: "Mirowski indicates his inspiration by quoting her (pp. 5-7): ‘A cyborg is a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as fiction.’ … But not ‘all kinds of artifactual, machinic relationships with human beings…. [specifically] those kinds of entities which became historically possible around World War II and just after. The cyborg is intimately involved in histories of militarisation, of specific research projects with ties to psychiatry and communications theory, behavioural research and psychopharmacological research, theories of information and information processing.’" John J. Hisnanick wrote in the Journal of Economic Issues that the book "reflects Professor Mirowski's ongoing research interest in tracking the role of the natural sciences on the structure and content of the orthodox (neoclassical) tradition in economics. In this installment, he provides an extensive discussion that documents the manner and extent that economics has become a ‘cyborg science.’ In addition, he discusses how economists' fascination with machines has and will continue to shape the future of the discipline."
The Effortless Economy of Science? is a collection of Mirowski's essays on economic methodology and how it is applied to understand scientific activities. American Scientist contributor Steven N. Durlauf noted that Mirowski "is prominent within the community of ‘heterodox’ economists, people who have challenged much of contemporary economic theory and empirical practice. He links his criticisms to the study of science by arguing that neoclassical economic reasoning—which views individuals as making purposeful decisions, based on well-specified preferences, constraints and beliefs—fails to provide a way of understanding how the enterprise of science functions. This failure in turn means that these economic models cannot address major problems facing science in modern society." Durlauf commented that these writings "reflect an enormous breadth of knowledge and a willingness to address a wide spectrum of questions, ranging from the foundations of scientific inquiry to issues at the forefront of public policy."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Scientist, March 1, 2005, Steven N. Durlauf, review of The Effortless Economy of Science?, p. 187.
British Journal for the History of Science, March, 1991, Theodore M. Porter, review of More Heat Than Light: Economics as Social Physics, Physics as Nature's Economics, p. 110; September, 1995, Bill Gerrard, review of Edgeworth on Chance, Economic Hazard, and Statistics, p. 375, Matthias Klaes, review of Natural Images in Economic Thought: "Markets Read in Tooth and Claw," p. 376; September, 2003, Theodore M. Porter, review of Science Bought and Sold: Essays in the Economics of Science, p. 381.
Business Horizons, September, 1987, review of The Reconstruction of Economic Theory, p. 79.
Challenge, September 1, 2005, "A Revisionist's View of the History of Economic Thought," interview with Philip Mirowski, p. 79.
Choice, May, 2002, M. Perelman, review of Machine Dreams: Economics Becomes a Cyborg Science, p. 1632.
Economica, November, 2004, Till Gruene, review of Machine Dreams, p. 694.
Economic Journal, March, 1988, John Aldrich, review of The Reconstruction of Economic Theory, p. 227; September, 1997, review of Natural Images in Economic Thought, p. 1629; June, 2004, Gary Mongiovi, review of Machine Dreams, p. 347.
Economic Record, December, 2003, Dave Taylor, review of Machine Dreams, p. 522.
Environmental Politics, spring, 1996, Marcel Wissenburg, review of Natural Images in Economic Thought, p. 176.
History of Political Economy, spring, 1997, Maurice Lagueux, review of Natural Images in Economic Thought, p. 164.
History of Science, March, 2003, review of Science Bought and Sold, p. 121.
Isis, June, 1991, Timothy Alborn, review of More Heat Than Light, p. 354; September, 1995, Theodore M. Porter, review of Edgeworth on Chance, Economic Hazard, and Statistics, p. 517; December, 2003, Roger E. Backhouse, review of Machine Dreams, p. 769.
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, March, 2004, E. Roy Weintraub, review of Machine Dreams, p. 419; March, 2004, David M. Levy, review of Machine Dreams, p. 423.
Journal of Economic History, March, 1989, E. Ray Canterbery, review of The Reconstruction of Economic Theory, p. 257; March, 1990, review of Against Mechanism: Protecting Economics from Science, p. 247; September, 1991, Joel Mokyr, review of More Heat Than Light, p. 762.
Journal of Economic Issues, December, 1986, Baldwin Ranson, review of The Birth of the Business Cycle, p. 1158; December, 1988, Ken Dennis, review of The Reconstruction of Economic Theory, p. 1253; September, 1991, William Waller, review of More Heat Than Light, p. 863; September, 1997, Mathieu J. Carlson, "Mirowski's Thesis and the ‘Integrability Problem’ in Neoclassical Economics," p. 741; September, 2004, John J. Hisnanick, review of Machine Dreams, p. 875.
Journal of Economic Literature, December, 1987, review of The Reconstruction of Economic Theory, p. 1915; December, 1989, review of Against Mechanism, p. 1736; June, 1990, Bruce J. Caldwell, review of Against Mechanism, p. 672; December, 1990, review of More Heat Than Light, p. 1776; June, 1991, Hal R. Varian, review of More Heat Than Light, p. 595; June, 1995, review of Natural Images in Economic Thought, p. 893; June, 2002, review of Machine Dreams, p. 585; September, 2002, review of Science Bought and Sold, p. 1058.
Journal of the American Statistical Association, June, 1995, Stephen M. Stigler, review of Edgeworth on Chance, Economic Hazard, and Statistics, p. 803.
Kyklos, spring, 1991, A.W. Coats, review of More Heat Than Light, p. 131.
New Scientist, August 24, 2002, review of Machine Dreams, p. 53; August 24, 2002, review of Science Bought and Sold, p. 53.
Philosophy of Science, December, 1992, Margaret Schabas, review of More Heat Than Light, p. 708.
Philosophy of the Social Sciences, December, 2006, Lawrence A. Boland, review of Machine Dreams, p. 480.
Physics Today, June, 1991, Philip W. Anderson, review of More Heat Than Light, p. 108.
Review of Radical Political Economics, spring, 1988, Evelyn Forget, review of The Reconstruction of Economic Theory, p. 94.
Review of Social Economy, fall, 1996, Warren J. Samuels and Jouni Paavola, "Natural Images in Economics: A Review Essay," p. 341.
Science, March 8, 2002, review of Science Bought and Sold, p. 1841.
SciTech Book News, June, 2002, review of Science Bought and Sold, p. 20.
Southern Economic Journal, January, 1991, Munir Quddus, review of More Heat Than Light, p. 878; January, 1996, Leland G. Neuberg, review of Natural Images in Economic Thought, p. 814.
University of Notre Dame Web site,http://www.nd.edu/ (February 9, 2008), faculty profile of Philip Mirowski.