Schools of Thought in the Republic of Social Science
AbstractIn an incisive analysis of academic tribalism, Stephen Balch (2004) argues that schools of thought can be catalysts or barriers to disciplinary inquiry, depending on the institutional setting. He cites physics, chemistry, and mathematics as fields in which competing schools of thought generally enhance the marketplace of ideas by increasing the scope and value of intellectual exchange (ibid., 2). Balch deems these disciplines “collegial” because, though “rivalries exist among hypotheses and investigators, there is general agreement on the means of resolving them and a strong sense of shared intellectual mission” which enable “internalized checks” to “keep things on the straight and narrow” (ibid., 4). By contrast, Balch describes the social sciences and humanities as “adversarial disciplines” in which paradigmatic rivalries “shade into enmities, bear heavily on methods of verification as well as the substance of disputes, involve judgments of value as well as of fact, often reveal an absence of shared mission, and produce results whose employment outside academe is very frequently polemical” (ibid., 4). In these contexts, schools become impediments to “serious academic discourse about the human condition” (ibid., 2) as the collegial ideal of a “free and open marketplace of ideas” (ibid., 1) gives way to balkanized disciplines “divided into enduring factions whose partisans frequently treat their opponents more as foes than colleagues” (ibid., 4).
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Texas Christian University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 201108.
Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: May 2011
Date of revision:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Daniel Klein, 2001. "Plea to Economists Who Favor Liberty: Assist the Everyman," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 185-202, Spring.
- Peter Boettke, 2011. "Cultivating constructive discourse over economics and public policy," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 67-70, March.
- Levy, David M. & Peart, Sandra J., 2009. "Sympathy, evolution, and The Economist," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 29-36, July.
- Harpham, Edward J., 2000. "The Problem of Liberty in the thought of Adam Smith," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(02), pages 217-237, June.
- Geoffrey Hodgson, 2002. "Visions of Mainstream Economics: A Response to Richard Nelson and Jack Vromen," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 60(1), pages 125-133.
- Roger Koppl, 2011. "Against representative agent methodology," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 43-55, March.
- Peter Boettke, 2004. "Obituary. Don Lavoie (1950-2001)," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(3), pages 377-379.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (John Harvey).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.