Saturday February 25th from 9.00am to 5.00pm.
The current economic and financial crises may have multiple causes, but fundamental to good economic policy should be a coherent understanding of economics. There is good to reason to think that economic theory is itself in crisis and that arriving at a better understanding of economics is a necessary goal of long-term prosperity.
The Blackfriars symposium, sponored by the Hall’s Las Casas Institute together with the
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and CAFOD, asks:
how is economics to be re-envisioned?
The ambition of modern economic theory to resemble the natural sciences has excluded aspects of economic life that have no reliable parallel in nature, and, therefore, cannot be understood with the aid of methodologies designed for the natural sciences. The resulting reclassification of economic phenomena has built a surrogate reality, but the theorems and hypotheses constructed upon lack adaquate explanatory or predictive power.
The exclusion of the moral quality of economic phenomena in the name of scientific objectivity has produced a reductionist and determinist dsicipline whose protagonist, the utility maximizing agent, bears little resemblance to the ontological composition of the human being. It eliminates from consideration the apparently ineradicable human need for transcendence together with the virtues with the aid of which humans struggle to respond to this need. The symposium addresses the following major issues:
l. What is the proper province of economics, how is it constituted, and how is it represented in economic theory?
ll. What is the role of moral considerations in economic life?
lll. How can the philosophical foundations of economics be rebuilt in a manner that does not exclude the moral issues that inhere in economic phenomena? How can it be made as open as the indeterminate flow that characterizes it?
Speakers at the symposium will include:
Prof. Peter Róna ( Senior Research Fellow of Blackfriars Hall and Honorary Professor of International Law, Eotvos University of Budapest; Member of the Supervisory Board of the Central Bank of Hungary)
Prof. Stefano Zamagni (Vice director of the Bologna Centre, Senior Adjunct Professor of International Economics, John Hopkins University; Professor of Economics, University of Bologna)
Prof. Deirdre McCloskey (Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, English, and Communication, University of Illinois at Chicago)
Prof. Valpy Fitzgerald (Professor of International Development Finance, Oxford University)
Prof. Stuart Kauffman (Distinguished Professor, Biochemistry and Mathematics, University of Vermont – by video link)
Prof. Peter Csermely (Semmelweis University of Budapest)
Prof. Albino Barrera O.P. (Professor of Economics and Theology, Providence College, RI)
Dr Aloys Wijngaards (Radbout University)
The event will be part chaired by Frances Cairncross, Warden of Exeter College, Oxford
In order to make preparations for the day, which will include a light luncheon, we would appreciate having confirmation of your intention to participate in the seminar, either by return email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by post by 15th February 2012. Yours sincerely,
Revd Dr Richard Finn Dr Michael Oborne Regent Director of the Las Casas Institute
Participation in the event is by invitation only. Blackfriars is grateful to the Tablet and Pastoral Review, CAFOD and Stone King LLP for their support of this event.