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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Yalcintas, Altug, 2011. "On error: undisciplined thoughts on one of the causes of intellectual path dependency," MPRA Paper 37911, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:37911
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/37911/1/MPRA_paper_37911.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stephen T. Ziliak & Deirdre N. McCloskey, 2004. "Size Matters: The Standard Error of Regressions in the American Economic Review," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 1(2), pages 331-358, August.
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    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, June.
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    5. Coase, R H, 1992. "Contracts and the Activities of Firms," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(2), pages 451-452, October.
    6. Michael Butler & Robert Garnett, 2003. "Teaching the coase theorem: Are we getting it right?," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 31(2), pages 133-145, June.
    7. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Erkan Gurpinar & Altug Yalcintas, 2015. "One Long Argument in Economics: Explaining Intellectual Inertia in terms of Evolutionary Ontology," STOREPapers 2_2015, Associazione Italiana per la Storia dell'Economia Politica - StorEP.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • B25 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary; Austrian; Stockholm School
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology

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