• Summary
  • Contents

Are human beings less violent than before? Why do we adopt certain moral and political judgements? Why is the gap between rich and poor getting bigger? How do we decide which criminal policies are effective? What is the Population Challenge for the 21st Century? What is social science? In Big Ideas in Social Science, David Edmonds and Nigel Warburton put these and more of our society’s burning questions to 18 of the world’s leading social scientists including Steven Pinker, Ann Oakley, Lawrence Sherman, Kate Pickett, Robert J. Shiller and Doreen Massey. The result is a collection of thought-provoking discussions that span the fields of sociology, politics, economics, criminology, geography and many more. From the people who brought us the Philosophy Bites series, Big Ideas in ...

Gregory Clark

Gregory Clark is Professor of Economics at the University of California, Davis. His research interests lie in long-run economic growth, and in particular the degree to which demographic processes in the pre-industrial world continue to influence social life in modern societies.

Nigel Warburton:What’s in a name? Well, according to Gregory Clark, quite a lot. Surnames predict social position with remarkable accuracy. Social mobility follows universal patterns, and surprisingly only usually occurs very gradually over a number of generations. Why this should be so is an intriguing question, as is the question of whether it’s something we should worry about.

David Edmonds:Today we’re talking about names. That’s an odd topic. How did you get into that?

Gregory Clark: It was ...

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