Economic Approaches to Understanding Scientific Norms

Episteme 8, 184–200, 2011.

Abstract: Falling under the rubric of economic approaches to the study of science are a wide range of projects employing different methods to study diverse phenomena. The purpose of this paper is to sketch an enterprise that unifies much, though not all, philosophical work on this theme, namely, the investigation of the interface between social norms and individual interests in science; to examine what I take to be a major divergence of explanatory styles within the enterprise, using Albert’s paper in the same issue of Episteme and Strevens (2003) as exemplars of contrasting approaches; and briefly to defend the enterprise as a whole against some important objections.

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