Friday, January 22, 2010

Prized People

Our congratulations to two great human beings and influential scholars for the recent accolades bestowed upon them. These two people are very close to our hearts here at Phronesisaical and, although their work is widely known, we are glad to see them once again appreciated for contributions that remind us of what a good thing it is to be a human being.

Herman Daly, ecological economist at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy and former Senior Economist at the World Bank, was yesterday awarded the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE). His constitutes the core of an entire field - ecological economics - which challenges many of the foundational assumptions of conventional neoclassical economics. His work on sustainability and steady state economy has been widely influential beyond economics. He is author or co-author of several game-changing books. Herman Daly's candid farewell speech to the World Bank is now considered a classic (and scathing) indictment of the international development industry. Still treated as an outsider by economics orthodoxy, he has nonetheless deservedly racked up the awards for his work, including the Grawemeyer Award, the Honorary Right Livelihood Award (Sweden's alternative to the Nobel Prize), the Heineken Prize for Environmental Science (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences), and the Sophie Prize for work on the environment and sustainable development (Norway).

Ian Hacking, emeritus professor of philosopher at the University of Toronto and the Collège de France, received the 2009 Holberg International Memorial Prize given by Norway's Ludvig Holberg Memorial Fund in recognition of outstanding scholarly work in the fields of the arts and humanities, social sciences, law and theology. He brought a fresh and influential historical and pragmatic approach to the philosophy of science and has continued to write on diverse subjects in an always entertaining and wise voice. Importantly, from my view, his intellectual life and production have always been idiosyncratic and generous, setting him apart from an academic field shredded by sub-disciplinary and methodological differences. His entertaining Holberg Prize acceptance speech can be found here.

Congratulations and gratitude to both. They are exemplars whose lives remind us that it is possible to combine the very pinnacle of scholarship and influence with warm generosity, decency, and wisdom.

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