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Reflection on rules in science: an invisible-hand perspective

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  • Thomas Leonard

Abstract

Can successful science accommodate a realistic view of scientific motivation? The Received View in theory of science has a theory of scientific success but no theory of scientific motivation. Critical Science Studies has a theory of scientific motivation but denies any prospect for (epistemologically meaningful) scientific success. Neither can answer the question because both regard the question as immaterial. Arguing from the premise that an adequate theory of science needs both a theory of scientific motivation, and a theory of scientific success, I make a case for seeing science as a kind of invisible-hand process. After distinguishing different and often confused conceptions of invisible-hand processes, I focus on scientific rules, treated as emergent responses to various coordination failures in the production and distribution of reliable knowledge. Scientific rules, and the means for their enforcement, constitute the invisible-hand mechanism, so that scientific rules (sometimes) induce interested scientific actors with worldly goals to make epistemically good choices.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Economic Methodology.

Volume (Year): 9 (2001)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 141-168

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:9:y:2001:i:2:p:141-168

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Related research

Keywords: Theory Of Science; Scientific Motivation; Economics Of Science; Invisible Hand; Reliable Knowledge; Scientific Institutions;

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Cited by:
  1. Roger Koppl, 2011. "Against representative agent methodology," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 43-55, March.
  2. Viktor Vanberg, 2010. "The ‘science-as-market’ analogy: a constitutional economics perspective," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 28-49, March.
  3. Vanberg, Viktor J., 2008. "The 'science-as-market' analogy: a constitutional economics perspective," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 08/1, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..

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