Gareth Evans — philosophy’s lost prodigy

Lincoln Allison in Engelsberg Ideas:

University College, Oxford, October 1964: the economics fellow, David Stout, has assembled the twelve freshmen PPE students for their first class. This is an unusual procedure as lectures and individual tutorials are the normal means of teaching, but Stout is preoccupied with persuading any government and political party that will listen of the virtues of something called ‘value added tax’ and wants to meet all the students together. I am one of them and I have done none of the preparation for this class, being entirely preoccupied with such matters as rugby and new friends, but I am hoping that my ‘A’ and ‘S’ level economics from fifteen months earlier will enable me to get by. Actually, there are only eleven of us. Enter the twelfth to the traditional sarcastic remark from the tutor. The new arrival has long black hair and a black beard and wears a black scholar’s gown. With his hooked nose and rimless spectacles he seems like an edgy and hyperactive raven. He is carrying all six of the books recommended for the class which he deposits unceremoniously on the floor. ‘So this is economics?’ he demands and David Stout replies that these books are about welfare economics which is regarded by many as the foundation of the subject. ‘It’s based on a mistake,’ snaps the raven and the rest of the class is devoted to the tutor defending his subject from aggressive interrogation. It is increasingly obvious that the raven is at least the intellectual equal of the tutor.

More here.