G. Bolacchi, A new paradigm for the integration of the social sciences, in: N. Innis, Reflections on Adaptive Behavior, MIT Press, 2008

After more than one century of development, the social disciplines face fundamental internal problems that each separately seems unable to solve. This situation is confirmed by the common-sense arguments advanced within each separate discipline to emphasize the presumed differences and peculiarities that each one claims.

The current partition between economics, psychology, and sociology, expressed in terms of disjoint equivalence classes, is indeed founded on ambiguous and indeterminate properties. The language of economics can be regarded as an exemplary case. In fact, at present, economics is undeniably the most advanced social discipline, in formal and axiomatic terms–despite the lack of isomorphism between theoretical behaviors, consistent with the postulates of axiomatic analysis, and actual behaviors, emphasized by the modern experimental (or behavioral) economics. The problem of inner states in cognitive psychology and sociology results in research methods that cannot guarantee, at present, intersubjective knowledge achievements; this does not happen only in both these research fields but also in experimental economics. The contrary occurs in behavioristic psychology, where variables and parameters define a closed or isolated system.

On these bases, the paper deals with the problem of the scientific integration between social disciplines, which is considered not according to the current interdisciplinarity but rather with reference to the construction of a social interaction model allowing for all social phenomena to be explained. The proposed structural model, which is concisely outlined in this paper, is named the Theory of Interests. This theory is strictly consistent with both the theoretical behavioristic language (related to experimental analysis) and the axiomatized economic language (related to market equilibrium).

Author
Giulio Bolacchi

Title

A New Paradigm for the Integration of the Social Sciences


Published in
Nancy K. Innis (ed.), Reflections on adaptive behavior (Ch. 15, pp. 315-353) 

Publisher
The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA (USA)

Year
2008

The need for integration of the social sciences online

The language of the science

Its syntactic and semantic standards

Time in science

An exemplary case: The language of economics
– The semantic interpretation of economic syntax
– Economics and the social system
– The verification of economics in a human context
– The verification of economics with animal experiments

The problem of inner states in psychology and sociology

The Theory of Interests

A theoretical hypothesis for the study of social phenomena founded on the experimental analysis of behavior

Explication of three critical concepts for the integration of the social sciences: Power, Exchange, Organization

Conclusion

Notes

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