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Nisbit (1980) argued that a key characteristic of modernism was an idea of a
progressive science.  Progressive is a normative word.  It implies either
(1) a positive expansion of scope or (2) a scope that is increasingly
correct or "true".

Does any social scientist with broad-based training really fear physicist's
contribution on (2)?   I can't imagine.

A contribution on (1) seems like a pure good for everyone.  A contribution
on (2) is only a threat if you believe there is a limited set of possible
contributions toward getting closer to "true" and that physicists or
mathematicians (or post-modern literary critics, etc.) are somehow better
positioned than anyone else to get the limited few possible answers first.
Or, that some answers are more important than others--namely those that are
purer math models.

A great deal of current thinking in economics seems to be moving sharply
away from purer model-based approaches to behavioral approaches (Thaler,
Kahneman, etc.)  If that trend held in social networks, sociologists,
psychologists, etc. would seem to be in a better position for glory.

Ryan L. Lanham

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