Explaining Technical Change: A Case Study in the Philosophy of Science
Technical change, defined as the manufacture and modification of tools, is generally thought to have played an important role in the evolution of intelligent life on earth, comparable to that of language. In this volume, first published in 1983, Jon Elster approaches the study of technical change from an epistemological perspective. He first sets out the main methods of scientific explanation and then applies those methods to some of the central theories of technical change. In particular, Elster considers neoclassical, evolutionary, and Marxist theories, whilst also devoting a chapter to Joseph Schumpeter's influential theory.
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PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
INTRODUCTION TO PART I
INTRODUCTION TO PART TI
action adaptation aggregate alternative analysis argued argument assume assumption Axiom behaviour believe biological capital capitalist causal explanation choice Cohen condition constant capital counterfactual decision defined discussion economic effect Elster energy entrepreneur environment equilibrium evolution evolutionary example Explaining technical change explanandum explanatory fact factor firms fs(t functional explanation G. A. Cohen game theory given growth hysteresis Ibid implies important individual innovation intentional explanation invoke isoquant labour labour-saving later local maximum Marx Marxist maximizing means mechanism modes of production mutations natural selection Nelson and Winter Nelson-Winter neoclassical notion nuclear observe optimal organism output perfect competition political possible postulate probability problem production function productive forces rate of profit rational reason relations of production risk Roemer satisficing satisfied Schumpeter Schumpeter's scientific sense social sciences society statement strategies structure technical progress techniques Theorem theories of technical tion uncertainty variables wage