IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Schools of Thought in the Republic of Social Science

Listed author(s):
  • Robert Garnett


    (Department of Economics, Texas Christian University)

Registered author(s):

    In 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).

    If 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.

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2011
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Texas Christian University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 201108.

    in new window

    Length: 26 pages
    Date of creation: May 2011
    Handle: RePEc:tcu:wpaper:201108
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    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.:

    in new window

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Peter Boettke, 2004. "Obituary. Don Lavoie (1950-2001)," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(3), pages 377-379.
    4. 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.
    5. McCloskey,Deirdre N., 1994. "Knowledge and Persuasion in Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521436038, December.
    6. Roger Koppl, 2011. "Against representative agent methodology," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 24(1), pages 43-55, March.
    7. McCloskey,Deirdre N., 1994. "Knowledge and Persuasion in Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521434751, December.
    8. Peter Boettke, 2011. "Cultivating constructive discourse over economics and public policy," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 24(1), pages 67-70, March.
    9. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tcu:wpaper:201108. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (John Harvey)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.