Some interesting follow-up to Daniel Drezner’s paper "Public Intellectuals 2.0", which I noted here a little while ago. See Barry Gewen’s comment in the New York Times on it, Gewen’s citation of an earlier Russell Jacoby essay on the same subject in the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Drezner’s response to Gewen. Some flavor:
Drezner’s impulse is to be inclusive: if you’ve written a serious book that has attracted a modicum of general attention, you seem to qualify as a public intellectual. I would be more restrictive, and I’d go back to the original New York Intellectuals for guidance.
Here’s the bias: in the past, when literary critics traversed into the fields of social science, they were seen as public intellectuals. Why, when social scientists return the favor – like Tyler Cowen, Richard Posner or Gary Becker – are they viewed as arrivistes and/or methodological imperialists?