Generally considered the greatest Arab historian and the father of Sociology and the sciences of History, Ibn Khaldun (in full Abu Zayd ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Khaldun) developed one of the earliest nonreligious philosophies of history in his masterwork, the Muqaddimah.
Economics evolved during Hirschman’s lifetime into a discipline that’s all about optimization, preferably expressed in a mathematical model. His influence on his own field thus seems scant. And while he had lots of fans among historians, anthropologists, sociologists and political scientists, it’s hard to detect anything like a “Hirschman school” out there.
If only there were. Hirschman believed in the potential for societal improvement, steering a course between leftist visions of a perfect world and conservative concerns that reforms always backfire. An intellectual and political environment where that was the dominant attitude would definitely be an improvement.
It’s a libertarian notion of human progress — progress as defined not by social connections, but by the rejection of them. The lone geniuses. The round pegs. The stubborn individualists. “A system can only produce a system,” Jobs remarks. “I don’t want to be part of that.”
McLuhan and fellow U of T scholar Harold Innis were at one time alone among students of human society in making the history of mass media central to the history of civilization. Today it’s a given.
.. He saw three great changes in human history related to communications technology, each one having an exponentially greater effect on humanity, each one externalizing, or “outing,” one or more of the senses.
.. My suggestion for students is to begin with the articles written by McLuhan – ‘Acoustic Space’ and ‘The Effect of the Printed Book on the language of the 16th century’ and a couple others that appear in the anthology entitled Explorations in Communication. These articles are lucid, comprehensible introductions to McLuhan’s thought.”