Category archives: Philosophy of science

Je ne regrette rien (3): The chimera of a quantum ‘solution’ to the problem of free will

Je ne regrette rien (3): The chimera of a quantum ‘solution’ to the problem of free will

Philosophy of science

By Jesús Zamora Bonilla

The mysteries of quantum physics have been breeding ground for thousands of attempts to connect any kind of weird hypotheses to ‘science’. The underlying inferential schema in all these attempts seems to be something like the following: X is difficult to understand, and some common-sense intuitions and arguments seem to count against X Quantum physics […]

The Grand Bazaar of Wisdom (and 6): Mathematical models in the economics of science

The Grand Bazaar of Wisdom (and 6): Mathematical models in the economics of science

EconomicsPhilosophy of science

By Jesús Zamora Bonilla

The most distinctive feature of modern economics is probably its reliance on the methodology of mathematical model building. The final aim of scientific model building is illuminating real phenomena; furthermore, models are basically logical arguments, whose main virtue is that they allow us to see very clearly what follows, and also what does not follow […]

The Grand Bazaar of Wisdom (5): Institutionalist theories of the economics of science

The Grand Bazaar of Wisdom (5): Institutionalist theories of the economics of science

EconomicsPhilosophy of science

By Jesús Zamora Bonilla

I will end this survey of the main contributions to the economics of scientific knowledge (ESK) by discussing the works which attempt to offer a more or less systematic conception of the process of scientific discovery; in this entry, I will talk about ‘institutionalist’ theories, i.e., those that abstain from using mathematical models. The first […]

The Grand Bazaar of Wisdom (4): From the “free market of ideas” to the “republic of science”

The Grand Bazaar of Wisdom (4): From the “free market of ideas” to the “republic of science”

Philosophy of science

By Jesús Zamora Bonilla

Traditionally, economics is not only about the optimisation of some magnitudes, be they utility, profits, wealth, or social welfare. Beyond the assumption that economic agents are rational beings who always try to make the best possible choice, there is the indisputable fact that the objects of economic research are social phenomena, that have to do […]

The Grand Bazaar of Wisdom (3): Epistemic utility approaches

The Grand Bazaar of Wisdom (3): Epistemic utility approaches

Philosophy of science

By Jesús Zamora Bonilla

Another route that has been followed to apply economic thinking to scientific methodology has consisted into trying to define a specific (‘cognitive’, or ‘epistemic’) utility function which rational scientific research should maximise. This has been the strategy of what is usually called cognitive decision theory, which is basically an adaptation of the Bayesian theory of […]

The Grand Bazaar of Wisdom (2): Cost-benefit approaches to the growth of scientific knowledge

The Grand Bazaar of Wisdom (2): Cost-benefit approaches to the growth of scientific knowledge

EconomicsEpistemologyPhilosophy of science

By Jesús Zamora Bonilla

The first known application of modern economic techniques to solving epistemic problems in science was very explicit in describing the value of a scientific theory as the difference between ‘costs’ and ‘benefits’. I’m referring to Charles Sanders Peirce’s ‘Note of the Theory of the Economy of Research’, published in 1879, less than a decade after […]