“Micro Chauvinists” Pushing Back …

7 September 2011 at 7:01 am 8 comments

| Nicolai Foss |

A reviewer of a recent book proposal by Teppo Felin and me (which was accepted, BTW; details later) had the effrontery to note that “Felin and Foss get considerable pushback when they take a strong stand on methodology.” Of course, this reviewer got it all wrong. To wit:

  • Teppo and I recently published “The endogenous origins of experience, routines and organizational capabilities: The poverty of stimulus” in the Journal of Institutional Economics, accompanied by critical comments by Sidney Winter, Brian Pentland, Geoff Hodgson and Thorbjørn Knudsen. Here is our response to the comments of our critics. The response has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Institutional Economics.
  • In a recent paper in Sociological Theory, influential sociologists  Ronald Jepperson and John W Meyer took issue with the rampant “micro-chauvinism” that, in their opionion, increasingly dominates social science, and called for multi-level explanation that admits a role for causation that (in some unexplained fashion) takes place at levels above that of individuals. In this brief note, Teppo and I (and Peter Abell of LSE) take issue with their arguments, and argue that they fundamentally misunderstand methodological individualism and its crucial role in understanding those phenomena that are “multi-level”, “complex” and “emergent.”

Thus, the macro chauvinists are the ones who are getting the pushback ;-)

Entry filed under: - Foss -, Methods/Methodology/Theory of Science, Papers.

“A Simple Model of the Evolution of Simple Models of Evolution” In the Journals

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. brayden king  |  7 September 2011 at 8:16 am

    Congratulations on the book deal! I think this is a really important debate, and I’m glad to see you two taking a strong stance.

  • 2. Nicolai Foss  |  7 September 2011 at 8:26 am

    Thanks … but is this an admission that you were the reviewer? ;-)

  • 3. brayden king  |  7 September 2011 at 8:36 am

    My guilty conscience couldn’t take it anymore.

  • 4. Randy  |  7 September 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Actually, I am the reviewer. I supported the project with enthusiasm to the editor, particularly *because* Felin and Foss get pushback from scholars like the ones mentioned in the post. After all, why publish a book on this subject that doesn’t encourage active discourse? And we know that Foss and Felin can construct and defend closely-reasoned arguments without fear of their thin skins being punctured by effrontery. ;-)

    I am neither a micro-chauvinist, nor a macro-apologist. I truly want to read this book as a contribution to my opsimathy. Carry on, Nicolai and Teppo!

  • 5. Nicolai Foss  |  7 September 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Wow! What a surprise. I guess I read more into “pushback” than is really warranted. Blame it on my deficient English skills (not the first time they get me in trouble here at O&M, as some of you will recall ;-)). And thx, Randy.

  • 6. Randy  |  7 September 2011 at 2:54 pm

    It will be a pleasure to read (review?) the book when you and Teppo get through with your exposition. I am especially looking forward to an elaboration of your “Cialis model” of micro-macro interactions.

  • 7. teppo  |  7 September 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Nicolai: You forgot to mention that there’s also “species chauvinism” going on, as Sid’s note argues. Good, healthy discussion.

  • 8. David Hoopes  |  9 January 2012 at 5:03 pm

    You’re going to publish a book where are argue that Herbert Simon was a behaviorist? People in cognitive science think he’s one of theirs (antithetical to behaviorism).

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