The CEE Web Log

Arthur J. Gallagher VP Tom Tropp speaks at Rockford University

Tom Tropp, Vice-president for Ethics and Culture at the Arthur J. Gallagher Corporation was a guest speaker in Stephen Hicks’s business ethics class on April 24. Gallagher is a $5 billion insurance brokerage company with almost 25,000 employees worldwide.

Gallagher was named a most ethical company for the fifth time, in large part due to Mr. Tropp’s work.

Mr. Tropp’s talk wass sponsored by the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship.

CEE Review: Can consumers change public policies? | J.K. Rowling on Failure, and more

News and Opinion

preserves_m2Why check-cashing stores are a good deal, according to a UPenn professor. Business Insider.

Minnesota eases restrictions on selling homemade food. Institute for Justice.

Latin America Needs to Abandon Its Victimization and Embrace the World. Panam Post.

Yes, consumers can change public policies — sometimes. Here are the challenges. The Washington Post.

13 Things You Should Give Up If You Want To Be Successful. Linkedin.

jk-rowling-twitter-profileBeing an entrepreneur is as much art as it is science. Inc.

Rent control: economists dislike it but politicians continue to like it. The issue is back on the table in Ontario. Stephen Hicks’s video lecture case study on the ethics, economics, and politics arguments back and forth.

J. K. Rowling on failure. Medium.

Michael Strong on developing group dynamics and leadership in young people. Our interview with Michael Strong at our site here.

Announcements

The 4th International Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability, Ethics, and Governance will be held July 26-28, 2017 in Perth, Australia. The conference theme is ‘Responsible Business for Uncertain Times and a Sustainable Future’. For more information about the conference and how to register visit the conference website.

Gaskin-Dreams

See you next time with our digest of new and interesting items in entrepreneurship, ethics, and political economy. Here are the previous editions of CEE Review.

CEE Review: Entrepreneurial education conference | Schools of the future, and more

News and Opinion

Apple-Lightbulb-cutoutTeaching Character Virtues to Prevent Bullying. Michael Strong at KoSchool.

Entrepreneurship and youth services: Quality is a way of showing respect. YouTube.

If Schools Don’t Change, Robots Will Bring On a ‘Permanent Underclass’. Vice.

Study links traits of undergraduate education to success in life. Inside Higher Ed.

Teens enter vocational school, come out with jobs, no debt. Today.

Study examines achievement gap between Asian American, white students. The Los Angeles Times.

Seven Ways School Has Imprisoned Your Mind. Foundation for Economic Education.

Could Urban Farms Be the Preschools of the Future? Citylab.

Video: Knives and fire in kindergarten? Facebook.

Why School Sucks. YouTube.

Announcements

EE 2017 Poster 2The Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship will be hosting a conference at Rockford University, Illinois, on March 31 and April 1, 2017, on Entrepreneurial Education. Invited speakers include: T.K. Coleman (Praxis), María Marty (Fundación para la Responsabilidad Intelectual), Nicholas Capaldi (Loyola University New Orleans), Kevin Currie-Knight (East Carolina University), Marsha Familaro Enright (The Great Connections Seminars), Terry Noel (Illinois State University), Jed Hopkins (Edgewood College), Amy Willis (Liberty Fund), and Peggy O’Neil (University of Western Ontario). Everyone is welcome to attend free of charge! Register for the conference here. For more information, visit our website or contact Jennifer Harrolle at jharrolle@rockford.edu.

Idea:  “There are only three ways to teach a child. The first is by example, the second is by example, the third is by example.” — Albert Schweitzer

See you next time with our digest of new and interesting items in entrepreneurship, ethics, and political economy. Here are the previous editions of CEE Review.

Entrepreneurial Education Conference at Rockford University, March 31-April 1

EE 2017 Poster 1The Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship will be hosting a conference at Rockford University, March 31-April 1, 2017, on Entrepreneurial Education.

Invited speakers include: T.K. Coleman (Praxis), María Marty (Fundación para la Responsabilidad Intelectual), Nicholas Capaldi (Loyola University New Orleans), Kevin Currie-Knight (East Carolina University), Marsha Familaro Enright (The Great Connections Seminars), Terry Noel (Illinois State University), Jed Hopkins (Edgewood College), Amy Willis (Liberty Fund), and Peggy O’Neil (University of Western Ontario).

Free Registration here. (Refreshments included.)

Theme:

On the Entrepreneurial side of the phrase: We live in entrepreneurial times. From the work demand side, there is increasing proportion of employment within entrepreneurial firms and a slow upward trend in the number of startups. From the work-supply side, younger people of this generation express higher levels of aspiration to start their own businesses or to work within entrepreneurial firms. Increasing globalization and liberalization also mean that the entrepreneurial trends are not only regional or national.

On the Education side: How can we best help younger people become entrepreneurial—either to prepare them for creating their own businesses, or to be entrepreneurial within existing firms, or as freelancing artists, writers, and musicians? If the traditional model of education—students sitting in straight rows of desks and all doing the same work at the same time following the directions of an authority figure—does not prepare students for entrepreneurism, then what should we replace it with?

We also live in a time of dissatisfaction with the dominant forms of education, with many complaints about stagnant or declining outcomes, bureaucratization, demoralization and worse, especially in poorer neighborhoods.

And we live in times of disruptive education technologies—from simple email and online chat to pre-packaged podcasts and video series to robust online MOOCs and more.

Putting all of the above together, how do we answer this question: What should entrepreneurial education look like?Apple-Lightbulb-cutout

Free Registration here. (Refreshments included.)

Here is a PDF of the conference poster containing the conference schedule.

This conference is made possible in part by support from the John Templeton Foundation and the Institute for Humane Studies.

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Al Gini on leadership — our interview (transcript)

[Here is a transcript of our eleven-minute video interview.]

Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship Interview with Professor Al Gini on Leadership

Hicks: I’m Stephen Hicks of CEE. Today we have with us Professor Al Gini from Loyola University Chicago, where he is chair of the management department and where he teaches business ethics. He is also associate editor and founding editor of Business Ethics Quarterly. He was here today at Rockford to speak on leadership.

Professor Gini, your theme was organized around ten topics in leadership—ten critical tasks of leadership. I wanted to ask you to speak to three of them that I thought were particularly important. The first one, the number one, top on your list, was leadership and character.

What do you take the character of leaders to be?

Gini: Well, I think that, point of fact, it´s just at the top of the list, it´s that without the list doesn´t go forward, as far as I am concerned. For me, a leader, as every individual, is known by what they value and what they believe in. And so I think that what´s critical in a leader is that we want a person whose character has been attuned to other issues besides self. And when we talk about leaders of character, I think what we are talking about is: what do they value? What do they hold dear? What is important to them? Why do they want the job and what are they willing to do and not willing to do for a job, which is also an important consideration. So, for me, character is about the virtues that an individual possesses and how he or she applies those virtues in the task of leadership.

Hicks: If you were to identify three or four of the top virtues, what would you say those are?

Gini: Well, I think the first one would be to be ‘more selfless than selfish’. The recognition that this job is not about me, recognition that this job is about stewardship. Now, I am very uncomfortable about the word steward, stewardship or servant leadership, because it merely triggers of kind of theological base—shepherd, guardian—that kind of thing, and I don´t mean that. I think steward in the Greek means to be in charge of a household. To be an important agent who is in charge of a household. And so, when I say stewardship, I mean, you´ve been hired to manage this household. And so to me that leader has been hired. This is a job, as Harry Truman said, this is the best job I´ve ever had. But this is job, and my job is to be for others, not simply for myself.

Hicks: So a proper attitude toward self in relation to others, recognizing that there is more to that job, than just focusing. What else, what there will be key character traits of it?

Gini: Well, I think we are talking about certain essences of truth, commitment, work ethic, and how one sees the democratic process. And by democratic process I don´t mean just the American democratic processes. How one deals with followers, how one deals with collaborators, fellow stakeholders. I think that it´s critical.

In that list that I put up, I also talk about knowing oneself. I take that to be part of character. That one of the factors of a good character is they examine oneself. They know what is important to them. They are not easily blindsided by Oh, a new temptation, or a new issue they haven’t thought their way through.

You know, Hemingway once said, defining courage, that courage is a good men in a tough situation, a good person in a tough situation. And he meant by that, that person has already thought through Should I run into that building and save that child or, I guess, I should have a fireperson, but they have already thought that through, and then when the situation comes up, they do it.

So, I think that part of the requirement for leadership is to live the examined life, to be philosophical. Now, one no longer quote Socrates from The Republic, when he says in Book V that no state will be just until all philosophers are kings and all kings are philosophers. I am not sure I want to buy totally into that, but I do like that avenue of approach.

Hicks: So, actually at least to be philosophical, if not philosophers.

Gini: That´s okay, good.

Hicks: A second one that jumped out at me in your list was the importance of vision. That´s a big concept and we hear a lot about it. What is vision and what does it matter ?

Gini: You know, in the 1980s, in George Bush I, how I refer to it, it was the V-word , and he popped it off and became kind of this joke, all the vision of this, the vision of that, it was like the buzzword of the month. What I really think vision is strategic planning goal, and a guide to a company. What do we want to do here? How do we do it? What is our quality control factor? Why do we do it and why do we want to continue doing it, etc., etc.? So I think a vision to me includes strategic plans and tactical plans of getting something done. And I think an effective leader at the political level has to offer a strategic plan and a tactical plan that entices people to vote for them. And I think successful leaders in business need to also implement strategic and tactical plans that make that company successful and make them into successful leaders.

Hicks: What goes into making people able to do that? We talk about intelligence, abstract ability, knowledge?

Gini: Although this isn´t a popular thought, to me a leader has a certain skillset—like an athlete—that simply isn´t given to everyone and can´t totally be trained. You can be exposed to training, but you won´t necessarily get better. Michael Jordan had athletic skill, and then he added to that practice, development, and stretching himself to improve. I don´t have enough athletic skill. If I took the same kinds of lessons and coaching he did, I wouldn´t achieve that. It would be impossible for me to do so. But I´ve taken enough math courses to be acceptable in math, even though I don´t understand numbers as clearly as people who gravitate toward mathematics. So, I think that what we are talking about here is this inner talent that is also being trained.

Now, the whispered question is: are leaders born or made? I think there is a certain talent then is then developed and made better. Clearly, a Nelson Mandela is a perfect example of somebody that was well-trained, he was a lawyer after all, with great experience, and then time to reflect, time to develop, even in prison, it´s a strange thing to say, but really true. He tells us in his writings that it was in prison that I really went to the university of life, that I was able to reflect and talk about these things. So, I think no one is just born a great athlete. You have the skillset, but then has to be directed properly. But I do think there are people who are not leaders, and we´ve met them. That you wouldn´t them to take a group of seven-year olds to the ice-cream store.

Hicks: As you say, you´d never seen them again.

The third one on your list that jumped out at me was teaching. And, in many cases, we think of leaders as just telling people what to do and then they are hands-off. But your account was much more hands-on. So, say a little bit more if you can about the teaching role you think great leaders play.

Gini: Well, you are going to find the draconian leader, you know, you must do this and my will be done or it´s my way or the highway.

But I think the reality is: successful leaders empower their followers. And that word is more used than vision. To empower—that is, convince them that this is worth doing. Convince them that this is important. If you´ve never thought of this idea, let me bring it to your attention, and let me explain why this is important. I want to convert you.

So, I think teaching is a really important skill. To simply give orders, and even if you have an effective staff who obeys orders, is not really getting into the heart of the matter. Again, if leadership is about empowering people to be leaders of their own job, they´ve got to know why they are doing it. They can´t just know these are the four things that I have to do every day and repeat them again, again and again. So, I think they have to see that connection. So, I think good leaders have an obligation to teach people what to do.

When, as parents, when our 5-year olds wouldn´t put under galoshes and raincoats and go off to school, or when they were in the first or second grade, we force them to do it and made them walk out the door. And I am hoping that they recognize it that you can´t afford to get sick, you can´t miss school, you can´t miss a day´s work. But they´ve got make it at their own somewhere down the line, and so when it comes to their own, that is really lived out. And I think it´s the same thing at the workplace. You can only give orders so long. You can´t supervise everybody all the time. They either have to know what they are doing and why they are doing it, or it doesn´t get done.

Hicks: In closing, I want to ask you a historical question. You can do this is as a philosopher, someone who well-versed in literature. In your talk you mentioned this last generation there have been a number of failures of leadership, and then you mentioned a number of individuals in business who were in positions of leadership, people in politics in positions of leadership. And for good reasons, there are lots of widely discussed failures of leadership from both areas. So there is a temptation—it might be a real temptation for us to say—Well, we live in a particularly corrupt, or leadership vacuum, cultural time. But you also quoted Cicero, going back 2,000 years now, reflecting on his age and making the same criticisms about the failures of leadership in his time. Is our age particularly bad? Do you think we´ve made progress? Can we learn from history?

Gini: Well, I think our age is no different than any other age. I mean, the notion that everything happens comes around again. I think that Teapot Dome scandals of the 1920s were recapitulations of Grant’s whiskey scandals and a recapitulation of certain things that happened under Washington, just to use the American experience.

I think scandals come back again and again. We teach Socrates because every generation has to be tooled in literacy and ethics; it´s not inborn. But I don´t think it is any worse. And, in fact, I think the actions of the last number of years—that we got to this new electronic revolution, for all its downside, that we are tethered to our talking machines and our computers, and that we are changing the face of the universe.

What is happening in Egypt right now and in Northern Africa right now, is a demonstration that people want effective, democratic, transparent leadership. Leaders who are committed to the people that are in charge of and lead, and that just seem that they are there by virtue of office and by virtue of custom tradition.

And so, in a very real sense, I think we are moving into a much more democratic, critical awareness of leadership and that leaders will be held to a much higher account.

Hicks: So you are an optimist.

Gini: Yes, I am an optimist right now.

Hicks: Thanks for being with us.

Gini: A pleasure to be with you.

[end]

CEE Review: What happens when doctors only take cash | The world’s most innovative economies, and more

News and Opinion

doctor-bannerEntrepreneurs—Not Coal Or Factories—Will Save The Middle-American Economy. Fast Company.

What Happens When Doctors Only Take Cash. Time.

Are Non-Compete Clauses Ethical? Business Ethics Highlights.

Innovations in customer service at McDonald’s. Fortune.

New methods of online advertising fraud. CNN.

CLP-brain-vector-shutter-stockThese Are the World’s Most Innovative Economies. Bloomberg.

How Michael Dubin Turned a Funny Video Into $1 Billion. The Wall Street Journal.

Ultra Spiritual Guy has this amusing send-up of entrepreneurial cliches. YouTube.

Why the human brain is our most precious commodity. HumanProgress.org.

Announcements

FB_IMG_1478352567560Stephen Hicks’s Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault has been translated into and published in Polish. Stephen gave a lecture tour in Poland in January coinciding with the publishing of the translation. Read more about the lecture tour at our site.

Idea: “Birds born in a cage think flying is an illness.” — Alejandro Jodorowski

See you next time with our digest of new and interesting items in entrepreneurship, ethics, and political economy. Here are the previous editions of CEE Review.

Stephen Hicks lecture tour in Poland

Stephen-in-Poland-800x445

EP-Polish-slant-1024x768From January 6-16 Stephen Hicks gave a total of eight talks in Poland: Bydgoszcz, Chojnice, Warszawa, and Kraków. Several of the talks are tied to the newly-published Polish edition of his Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault.

The Polish translation by Piotr Kostyło and Katarzyna Nowak was published as Zrozumieć postmodernizm. Sceptycyzm i socjalizm od Rousseau do Foucaulta (University of Kasimir the Great Press, 2016).

Much thanks to the following individuals for their warm invitations: Dr. Przemek Zientkowski of Chojnice, Professor Hanna Kostyło of the Bydgoszcz University, Professor Rafał Godoń of the University of Warsaw,
Professor Katarzyna Wrońska of Jagiellonian University in Kraków, and especially to Dr. Piotr Kostyło of the University of Kasimir the Great.

CEE Review: Regulation and innovation in transportation | Latino entrepreneurship in the U.S., and more

News and Opinion

usa-uber_1Regulation brakes innovation: DMV stops Uber’s self-driving car program. CNN.

In addition to limiting the liberty rights of entrepreneurs and their customers, bans on Uber and Lyft indirectly cause more deaths. FEE.

Taxi corporations and police team up to arrest solo taxi entrepreneurs in LA. PINAC.

Is unethical behavior increasing in Silicon Valley? Fortune.

The Businesses Apple Has Left Behind. MacStories.

latino-americansVideo: Steve Jobs on failure. Youtube.

While Latinos account for 17 percent of all workers [in the US], they account for 21 percent of new entrepreneurs. NERA.

5 Minutes Early Is On Time; On Time Is Late; Late Is Unacceptable. Forbes.

Five Myths About Landing a Good Job Later in Life. The Wall Street Journal.

Announcements

The 4th Annual Interdisciplinary Symposium on Academic Freedom: Entrepreneurship, Leadership & Free Markets is being held on March 17, 2017 at the Bay Watch in North Myrtle Beach, SC. Deadline for a 200 word abstract submission is March 1, 2017 or until filled. For more details please visit: http://lync-sync.com.

Idea: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” — Mark Twain

entrepreneur-themesSee you next time with our digest of new and interesting items in entrepreneurship, ethics, and political economy. Here are the previous editions of CEE Review.

Review of Zelmanovitz on money’s truth and money’s health

zelmanovitz-ontology

At the Library of Law and Liberty’s site — Stephen Hicks discusses Leonidas Zelmanovitz’s ambitious work in the philosophy of money:

Review of The Ontology and Function of Money: The Philosophical Fundamentals of Monetary Institutions 

Dr. William Kline on David Hume — video interview transcript

Interview conducted at Rockford University by Stephen Hicks and sponsored by the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship.

Part I

Hicks: I’m Stephen Hicks, executive director of CEE, and our guest today is Dr. William Kline, an expert on David Hume, the 18th-century Scottish Enlightenment philosopher. He spoke today at Rockford University in the Ethical Theory class on Hume’s contribution to the foundations of moral and political thought. Why, in the 21st century, should Hume matter to us?

Kline: There are at least a couple of reasons. One is Hume is very concerned with the origin of property rights and how and when they apply, which I think is is perennially important. I also think, two, there are certain questions that arise about the extent to which free and self-directed human interaction should be allowed to the extent that it’s beneficial for us all — basic questions of liberty — and I think Hume painted a picture that deserves to be examined.

Hicks: If we paint that picture in broad strokes, certainly Hume’s conclusion is a conception of a society that is just. For him, justice is a fairly expansive concept. What are the major constituent elements of the just society that he would like us to work toward?

Kline: Well, his theory of justice is actually going to be constrained to basically property, trade, and contract, which is consonant with writers that have come before him, whether Hobbes or Locke. So, those who want look at a more expansive view of social justice aren’t going to find all of those elements there. But with that said, Hume focuses on this because he thinks that they are central to any society, that they are necessary, and that they have to be stable. And that point you do find even reflected in people saying, like John Rawls in A Theory of Justice, the basic rules of justice have to be stable. And so, in that sense, his project is the same. Another reason to read Hume for today.

Hicks: So part of the just society is going to be a set of stable principles. But in terms of content, respect for property, respect for trade, respect for contract is going to be essential, firm principles that we have to realize. Now if we go back to the beginnings or foundations of Hume’s philosophy and his moral thinking, he has a reputation — how deserved or not is subject to interpretation, though — for being a radical subjectivist in his moral theory. So, there is obviously a big gap that has to be bridged if you are starting from radically, subjectivist foundations to ending up a fair, relatively firm, socially-wide conception of a just society. How deserved is Hume’s reputation for being a subjectivist in his moral theory?

Kline: Well, he is a subjectivist in the fact that moral approbation will be in the eyes of the beholder. The disconnect happens when people don’t realize is that the subjectivity is going to be some sort of intersubjectivity, it is not going to be, it’s not a solipsistic argument, that somehow moral judgments are just generated by me, by my passions, by my sentiments, not in reference to anybody else. That’s not going to be his argument. In fact, the whole reason you want society is you can’t even live like that. So, whatever subjectivity we are going to talk about is going to be in an intersubjectivity of human beings that have a certain nature and have certain needs to be met and have to figure out how exactly to do that.

Hicks: So, if we then start the process where Hume says certain principles will emerge, even we do start off more atomistically or more individualistically each with our own subjective evaluations, how does some sort of coordination, right, emerge or some principles emerge with? Can you sketch that process?

Kline: And I think it’s good the way you said it too: Hume began and definitely it ends with a sort of methodological, subjectivist, individualist in almost like an economist would begin. And you find this approach reflected in modern game theory. You’ll find people like Axelrod, Brian Skyrms, Robert Sugden, asking ‘Here are individuals with their own subjective preferences interacting with other such individuals, what kind of solutions to different problems can they find?’ In Hume’s case, he is going to talk about property. And the upshot of it is that the strategy people find is that if I leave you alone, and you leave me alone, we are both better off. And I will leave you alone if you leave me alone. And there is a lot of traction to be gained from that. Hobbes doesn’t see this as a possibility. Hobbes thinks we are just going to attack each other and we need Leviathan to stop us. Hume doesn’t. Hume says we can actually learn from our mistakes and we can actually learn to conditionally structure our activities, much as Axelrod tells us today, that if I cooperate with you, and you cooperate with me, I will keep cooperating with you.

Part II

Hicks: So this is in keeping them with the rest of Hume’s empirical philosophy, where it’s a matter of learning through trial and error, as opposed to a priori principles being dropped upon us to which were supposed to conform. So the idea then is that individuals can’t start out with their own subjective preferences, but through the process of trial and error learn that through cooperation and respect for each other’s stuff they will be better off?

Kline: Yes.

Hicks: So at least we’ve gotten past the bootstrapping, right, the initial moment, we’ve got some principles here. But, as you mentioned in your talk, at this point, it’s still based on self-interest in a narrow sense and there is no reason why people won’t defect, say, or just see the mutual backscratching and mutual respect as something that is short-term and not necessarily to be extended to all of the members of society, and so on. So, how do we get from these initially emergent agreements among individuals to where Hume wants to end up, which is to say, with social-wide or all-of-society agreed-upon principles that are firm and binding? What do we need to add?

Kline: Yeah, and this is a problem too, historically. It occurs in Plato, and we find it in Hobbes as well, where you start out with this methodological individualism, it’s run by self-interest, self-interest is all I recognize, it is on self-interest to leave you alone, you recognize this in yourself interest leaving me alone, and everything is all alone and good until you say ‘Wait a second, what about these cases where you realize it’s not in your self-interest anymore’? Maybe I am way more powerful than you, maybe you’ve turned your back and I can get something and you don’t know it. If all it is is self-interest, it would seem that, well, then, that’s what you should do, take the ring, go kill the king and make the queen your wife. You would be a fool to do otherwise and there’s certainly no moral rules stopping you.

The point is that Hume’s takes methodological individualism up to convention, but then after that, conventions are really what is running the game. I think that Hume does think, just as Aristotle, that we are social creatures. We are not these solipsistic creatures, right? We are social creatures and these conventions, once they are running — once we are respecting each other’s property, once we are trading, once we’re recognizing that these mutual strategies are beneficial, we are interacting as the social creatures we are meant to be — this has an effect on our psychic makeup, just like cause and effect does, where the repetitive, constant conjunction of continuous objects, whether they are pool balls or whatever, in principle upon our minds, that, well, that’s going to be happen again. We develop the same expectations, but it’s not a rational calculation, we develop the same expectations with regards to other people. And also we begin to put this into language. And once we start having concepts of mine and thine, if you will, and language that says those certain actions — and this is actually his terminology in the Enquiry — ‘certain actions are odious’. These then now apply in a general fashion, it goes beyond me. Odious means to anybody and that’s what we are really then go beyond. It’s now no longer about whether it’s in my self-interest or not, it’s whether the activities is odious.

And if I can add one more thing here, it’s a very interesting article by John Rawls, called ‘Two Concepts of Rules’, and really what Hume, I think, is arguing is how summary rules, which are conventions, they are rules of thumb, that have a general utility become practice rules, and a practice rule is something that actually defines the practice. That one is not free to violate based solely on self-interest. So, the rules of baseball has certain rules that are practice rules, I don’t care how much is it in my self-interest, I am now allowed to go to first base unless I do certain things to earn getting to first base.

Hicks: So, you mentioned, historically, a connection from David Hume in the 18th century to the 20th century figures such John Rawls, Axelrod, both of them you mentioned. Are there other important figures in the transition from Hume’s generation to ours, who are carrying on the Humean legacy, Humean approach?

Kline: Well, Smith, definitely. Adam Smith takes, I think, Hume’s analysis of how conventions are formed and then applies it to economics. Smith says things work once you have property, trade and contract in place. And Smith’s natural liberty as allowing people to pursue their self-interest for their own ends within those constraints, mirrors agents pursuing their own ends and making a property. Of course, that’s not recent, that’s 1776. More recently, Robert Sugden, Brian Skyrms. Hayek draws on Hume, greatly draws on him. And those are the ones that I can think of right now that have a huge influence in Hume.

Hicks: All right, so Hume’s influence is alive and well in the late 20th through the early 21st century.

Kline: It is, and I think it is getting better, but there was a time, and it stems from Rawls, Rawls is very Kantian and admittedly so, and you look at a lot of Rawls’s students that graduate from him, they get key positions at key universities, so, if you really look at the decades from the mid-80s up and through pretty much even now, academia, I mean, there is an emphasis — Kant has it right, Hume opened Kant’s eyes, but Kant is the one that had it right, Hume didn’t. I think that is changing slightly. There certainly have been big names that have championed Hume, but you would be hard-pressed to go to the literature and find a Humean theory of justice. Find Kantian, Rawlsian, utilitarian, Hobbesian, all defended as correct systems of justice, but it’s really hard to find one that defends a Humean theory.

Hicks: Thank you for your lecture today.

Kline: Thank you, I had fun.

[The video interview with Dr. William Kline follows.]