Social and Scientific Disorder as Epistemic Phenomena, or The Consequences of Government Dietary Guidelines

The Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University Working Paper Series

38 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2019

See all articles by Scott Scheall

Scott Scheall

Arizona State University, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, Faculty of Social Science; Arizona State University (ASU) - Center for the Study of Economic Liberty

William Butos

Trinity College

Thomas McQuade

Independent

Date Written: December 20, 2018

Abstract

We begin with an economic model of science according to which signals concerning scientific reputation both serve to coordinate the plans of individuals in the scientific domain and ensure that the knowledge that emerges from interactions between scientists and the environment is reliable (McQuade and Butos 2003). Under normal circumstances, scientific order emerges from the publication-citation-reputation (PCR) processes of science (Butos and McQuade 2012). We adopt and extend F.A. Hayek’s “non-standard” epistemology according to which knowledge affords successful plan-based action (Scheall 2016). We develop an epistemic theory of social order (Scheall 2015). We discuss the distorting effects on scientific knowledge and, thus, on scientific and social order more broadly, of government interference with the PCR processes of science. Finally, we use the history of the United States federal government’s development of standardized dietary guidelines for American consumers and its concomitant interference in the PCR processes of nutritional science as an illustration of our synthesized theory of social order. We conclude that this interference contributed to social disorder in dietary science and beyond.

Keywords: social order; scientific order; F.A. Hayek; pretence of knowledge; discovery procedure; epistemic theory; dietary guidelines; fat hypothesis; carbohydrate hypothesis; Gary Taubes

JEL Classification: B31, D02, D72, H11, H51, I18

Suggested Citation

Scheall, Scott and Butos, William and McQuade, Thomas, Social and Scientific Disorder as Epistemic Phenomena, or The Consequences of Government Dietary Guidelines (December 20, 2018). The Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University Working Paper Series, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3304786 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3304786

Scott Scheall (Contact Author)

Arizona State University, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, Faculty of Social Science ( email )

7001 E. Williams Field Rd.
Mesa, AZ 85212
United States

Arizona State University (ASU) - Center for the Study of Economic Liberty

United States

William Butos

Trinity College ( email )

300 Summit Street
Hartford, CT 06106
United States

Thomas McQuade

Independent ( email )

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