Henry James on Shackle versus Kirzner

January 8, 2009

by Sandy Ikeda

“There are two kinds of taste, the taste for emotions of surprise and the taste for emotions of recognition.”

This is from The Practical Cogitator (p. 463), handy sourcebook for intellectual dilettantes (like me).

According to Wikiquote, the original source is James’s essay, “Anthony Trollope,” Century Magazine (July 1883).  I’ll take their word for it (since as a true dilettante I haven’t actually read the essay), but it appears that TPC’s version is edited from the following:  “There are two kinds of taste in the appreciation of imaginative literature: the taste for emotions of surprise and the taste for emotions of recognition,” which is less relevant to the Shackle-Kirzner distinction (although some do mistakenly view their work as fiction).

In any case, I think the quote rings true as regards those two.

One Response to “Henry James on Shackle versus Kirzner”

  1. koppl Says:

    I think Kirzner was trying to solve an economic problem, namely equlibration. Shackle, by contrast, seems to have been captured by philosophical problems of free will and determinism. I think that helps explain why Kirzner has had a much greater influence than Shackle on how economists do economics. Shackle is admired for his poetry; Kirzner is admired for his economics.

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