On Error: Undisciplined Thoughts on One of the Causes of Intellectual Path Dependency
Ankara University SBF Review, Vol. 66, No. 2, pp. 215-233, 2011
19 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2012
Date Written: February 1, 2012
Is there not any place in the history of ideas for the imperfect character of human doings (i.e. capability of error) that is repeated for so long until we lately start to think that it had long been wrong? The answer is: In the conventional histories of ideas there is almost none. The importance of the phenomenon, however, is immense. Intellectual history is full of errors. Scholarly errors are among the factors that generate intellectual pathways in which consequences of historical small events feed back up on each other positively and give rise to historical pathologies in the end. Pathways hold the intellectuals dependent on the consequences of errors which interact upon each other and prevent resulting pathologies to disappear fully. As a result, ideas do not converge to a level of perfection. Evolutionary account of errors suggests that errors in the history of ideas matter even though they are often corrected.
Keywords: Errors in the history of ideas, intellectual path dependence, intellectual pathologies, the Coase Theorem, historical small events
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