A Formal Model of Theory Choice 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 toward a 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. Further, social interactions are shown to provide a theoretical model which is consistent with some broad empirical aspects of the pattern of scientific theory evolution.
|Date of creation:||Apr 1997|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 1399 Hyde Park Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501|
Web page: http://www.santafe.edu/sfi/publications/working-papers.html
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf, 1995.
"Discrete Choice with Social Interactions I: Theory,"
NBER Working Papers
5291, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf, 1995. "Discrete Choice with Social Interactions I: Theory," Working Papers 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.
- L. Blume, 2010.
"The Statistical Mechanics of Strategic Interaction,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
488, David K. Levine.
- Blume Lawrence E., 1993. "The Statistical Mechanics of Strategic Interaction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 387-424, July.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wop:safire:97-04-031e. 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: (Thomas Krichel)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.