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On error: undisciplined thoughts on one of the causes of intellectual path dependency

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  • Yalcintas, Altug

Abstract

Is there not any place in the history of ideas for the imperfect character of human doings (i.e. capability of error) that is repeated for so long until we lately start to think that it had long been wrong? The answer is: In the conventional histories of ideas there is almost none. The importance of the phenomenon,however, is immense. Intellectual history is full of errors. Scholarly errors are among the factors that generate intellectual pathways in which consequences of historical small events feed back up on each other positively and give rise to historical pathologies in the end. Pathways hold the intellectuals dependent on the consequences of errors which interact upon each other and prevent resulting pathologies to disappear fully. As a result, ideas do not converge to a level of perfection. Evolutionary account of errors suggests that errors in the history of ideas matter even though they are often corrected.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 37911.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Publication status: Published in Ankara University SBF Dergisi / Ankara University SBF Review 66.2(2011): pp. 215-233
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:37911

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Keywords: Errors in the history of ideas; intellectual path dependence; intellectual pathologies; the Coase Theorem; historical small events;

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  1. Michael Butler & Robert Garnett, 2003. "Teaching the coase theorem: Are we getting it right?," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 31(2), pages 133-145, June.
  2. Altman, Morris, 2004. "Statistical significance, path dependency, and the culture of journal publication," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 651-663, November.
  3. William Coleman, 2005. "Taking Out The Pins: Economics As Alive And Living In The History Of Economic Thought," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 24(2), pages 107-115, 06.
  4. Coase, R H, 1992. "Contracts and the Activities of Firms," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(2), pages 451-52, October.
  5. Arthur, W Brian, 1989. "Competing Technologies, Increasing Returns, and Lock-In by Historical Events," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(394), pages 116-31, March.
  6. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-37, May.
  7. Ziliak, Stephen T. & McCloskey, Deirdre N., 2004. "Size matters: the standard error of regressions in the American Economic Review," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 527-546, November.
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