A Formal Model of Theory Vhoice in Science
Since the classic work of Feyerabend and Kuhn, the role of social factors in the scientific enterprise has been a major concern in the philosophy and history of science. In particular, the presence of social factors such as the desire for prestige or pressures to conform to accepted ideas, have been regarded as reasons to question whether science naturally progresses towards more and more accurate approximations of reality. In this paper, we propose a formal model of theory choice which incorporates private and social influences. We provide a characterization of the interaction of social factors with theory choice. Our results demonstrate that the influence of social factors on scientific progress is far more complex than is typically assumed. In particular, we provide conditions under which social influences actually enhance the rate at which a superior theory replaces its inferior predecessor.
|Date of creation:||1997|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN MADISON, SOCIAL SYSTEMS RESEARCH INSTITUTE(S.S.R.I.), MADISON WISCONSIN 53706 U.S.A.|
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- William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf, 1995.
"Discrete Choice with Social Interactions I: Theory,"
95-10-084, Santa Fe Institute.
- Brock, W.A. & Durlauf, S.N., 1995. "Discrete Choice with Social Interactions I: Theory," Working papers 9521, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
- William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf, 1995. "Discrete Choice with Social Interactions I: Theory," NBER Working Papers 5291, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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"The Statistical Mechanics of Strategic Interaction,"
Games and Economic Behavior,
Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 387-424, July.
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