Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Little Rhetoric

I learned about kairos from colleague Julia Combs a few weeks back.

From Wikipedia:

In rhetoric kairos is "a passing instant when an opening appears which must be driven through with force if success is to be achieved."[2]

Kairos was central to the Sophists, who stressed the rhetor's ability to adapt to and take advantage of changing, contingent circumstances. In Panathenaicus, Isocrates writes that educated people are those “who manage well the circumstances which they encounter day by day, and who possess a judgment which is accurate in meeting occasions as they arise and rarely misses the expedient course of action". [emphasis added]

I write this because I recognize that this is an essential part of teaching macroeconomics. My feeling is that what makes a successful macroeconomist is the ability to recognize a current event as either something we’ve seen before, or something new … and relating that to students.

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