in Economics

Philosophy and Economics

So, I wore my new David Hume shirt to work yesterday. 

Joe's Hume ShirtAnd before you ask, yes, I am in fact that much of a nerd. Also, yes, I do in fact have a job where I can wear that shirt on a Thursday and no one cares. Some parts of my job I really like.

Anyway, I found the whole experience to be just a tiny bit depressing.

“Why’s that?” you ask, not unreasonably, perhaps expecting me to say something about how I’m an adult who still wears printed t-shirts to work or maybe waiting for me to comment on the fact that when I walked out of the office yesterday in my t-shirt it had suddenly turned really fucking cold.

But no. It’s not any of those things.

The depressing thing is that no one recognized David Hume.

Now I realize that I work with economists and budget analysts. I probably wouldn’t recognize a lot of fairly famous economists, either. But this is David Hume. The David Hume who was both a close friend of and huge influence on this other 18th century Scot you may have heard of, a fellow by the name of Adam Smith. Yeah, that Adam Smith. I mean, I’ve definitely heard that economics programs have stopped doing much in the way of history/theory and turned into applied mathematics programs, but I mean…

So my typical conversation ended up going something like this.

Composite character: Who is David Hume?

Me: He was a philosopher.

Composite character: * Blank look *

Me: 18th century. Scottish enlightenment. Friend of Adam Smith.

Composite character: Ah. Your shirt makes him look like a rock star.

Me: Yeah, that’s supposed to be the joke. It’s Daft Punk’s logo.

Composite character: Who is Daft Punk?

Me: Can we talk about something else now?

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