From this year’s student evaluations:
Economics teaching proceeds as follows: here is an extremely abstract and unlikely theory, go away and learn it, and don’t ask awkward questions about its veracity. But I want to know where these ideas come from, and whether they are true, not just whether they make neat mathematics. In this course I was finally able to ask some of the questions that had been bothering me, for example: Is the idea of maximising utility really true, is it useful, where does it come from? Has economics always been about rational individuals, or should it consider societal influences and morality? Does it make sense to talk about general economic laws, or does human action actually depend on culture?
History of Economic Thought is an excellent course for students who want to think about big ideas; this year we had some very good discussions. More reactions here.