163,214 research outputs found

    Science and Ideology in Economic, Political, and Social Thought

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    This paper has two sources: One is my own research in three broad areas: business cycles, economic measurement and social choice. In all of these fields I attempted to apply the basic precepts of the scientific method as it is understood in the natural sciences. I found that my effort at using natural science methods in economics was met with little understanding and often considerable hostility. I found economics to be driven less by common sense and empirical evidence, then by various ideologies that exhibited either a political or a methodological bias, or both. This brings me to the second source: Several books have appeared recently that describe in historical terms the ideological forces that have shaped either the direct areas in which I worked, or a broader background. These books taught me that the ideological forces in the social sciences are even stronger than I imagined on the basis of my own experiences. The scientific method is the antipode to ideology. I feel that the scientific work that I have done on specific, long standing and fundamental problems in economics and political science have given me additional insights into the destructive role of ideology beyond the history of thought orientation of the works I will be discussing

    Heads and Tails: Molecular Imagination and the Lipid Bilayer, 1917–1941

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    Today, the lipid bilayer structure is nearly ubiquitous, taken for granted in even the most rudimentary introductions to cell biology. Yet the image of the lipid bilayer, built out of lipids with heads and tails, went from having obscure origins deep in colloid chemical theory in 1924 to being “obvious to any competent physical chemist” by 1935. This chapter examines how this schematic, strictly heuristic explanation of the idea of molecular orientation was developed within colloid physical chemistry, and how the image was transformed into a reflection of the reality and agency of lipid molecules in the biological microworld. Whereas in physical and colloid chemistry these images considered secondary to instrumental measurement and mathematical modeling of surface phenomena, in biology the manipulable image of the lipid on paper became an essential tool for the molecularization of the cell

    Come back Marshall, all is forgiven? : Complexity, evolution, mathematics and Marshallian exceptionalism

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    Marshall was the great synthesiser of neoclassical economics. Yet with his qualified assumption of self-interest, his emphasis on variation in economic evolution and his cautious attitude to the use of mathematics, Marshall differs fundamentally from other leading neoclassical contemporaries. Metaphors inspire more specific analogies and ontological assumptions, and Marshall used the guiding metaphor of Spencerian evolution. But unfortunately, the further development of a Marshallian evolutionary approach was undermined in part by theoretical problems within Spencer's theory. Yet some things can be salvaged from the Marshallian evolutionary vision. They may even be placed in a more viable Darwinian framework.Peer reviewedFinal Accepted Versio

    The Faculty Notebook, September 1999

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    The Faculty Notebook is published periodically by the Office of the Provost at Gettysburg College to bring to the attention of the campus community accomplishments and activities of academic interest. Faculty are encouraged to submit materials for consideration for publication to the Associate Provost for Faculty Development. Copies of this publication are available at the Office of the Provost