Explaining Technical Change: A Case Study in the Philosophy of Science

Front Cover
CUP Archive, Jun 9, 1983 - Philosophy - 273 pages
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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Contents

PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
7
INTRODUCTION TO PART I
15
CAUSAL EXPLANATION
25
FUNCTIONAL EXPLANATION
49
INTENTIONAL EXPLANATION
69
INTRODUCTION TO PART TI
91
SCHUMPETERS THEORY
112
EVOLUTIONARY THEORIES
131
MARXIST THEORIES
158
RISK UNCERTAINTY AND NUCLEAR
185
THE CONTRADICTION BETWEEN THE FORCES
209
NOTES
237
REFERENCES
259
INDEX
271
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